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Gretchen Wuth Hays '64

Real Estate Provides Life Income Gift for Donors and Unrestricted Endowment for Mount Holyoke


Gretchen and Wayne Hays seated on the Scultpure Bench, a generous gift from Hays, Elizabeth Main Welty 1937, and Wendy Jackson 1964. October 2008

Two decades ago, Gretchen Wuth Hays ’64 pledged to someday make a major gift to Mount Holyoke College. At the time, she and her husband, Wayne, were putting two children through college and private school but Hays promised the Development Office that whenever she had the ability, she would make a significant donation—“because I value Mount Holyoke.”  

Hays supports the College by serving as an admissions representative and through outreach with the MHC Club of Southern California. And in recent years, she began doing what she describes as “fun stuff” for her alma mater. For example, she’s the donor behind the Segway Personal Transporter used by Public Safety, as well as one of the three alumnae who funded the purchase and installation of a bronze sculpture bench behind the new residence hall.  

Still, Hays never forgot that long-ago pledge and, noting “some things take a while to bloom,” made good on it this past year when she and her husband, Wayne, decided to sell their home in Malibu, California. The couple established a charitable remainder trust funded with 25 percent of that property. Ultimately, the trust benefits MHC with an unrestricted gift for the endowment. With this arrangement, the Hays not only provided for the future of the College, but in return, they also reduced the capital gains on their appreciated residence, received a charitable tax deduction, and will receive income for life. In addition, the Hays were recognized for their future provision for Mount Holyoke in the current campaign.  

“I know that Mount Holyoke is under-endowed compared to peer institutions,” said Hays, who is co-chair of the Los Angeles Major Gifts Committee for the Campaign for Mount Holyoke. “I wanted to make a gift that would live on.” 

What has always motivated her giving is a deep admiration for Mount Holyoke’s willingness to take women seriously and its “can-do” atmosphere. She says that Mount Holyoke women always have “stood out in my life as being really special.” That distinction began when she attended a tea for prospective students while a teenager in St. Louis.  

“It was hosted by a group of alumnae and I just plain liked those women. They were interested in all kinds of things,” said Hays. “Since then, I have never, ever been to a Mount Holyoke event where there weren’t interesting women. The College’s alumnae care about things of worth.” 

In the end, it is the personal connections that inspire Hays. These include relationships with prospective students she has helped guide to the College, such as Ning Pu ’07, whom Hays met while traveling in China with friend Wendy Jackson ’64.  “I have stories galore about the students I have met and interviewed. In addition, my development work has introduced me to many remarkable older alumnae, and I’m back on campus at least once a year to collaborate with other alumnae volunteers and staff. All these connections have enriched my life immeasurably. Establishing this trust to benefit future Mount Holyoke students is the way I wanted to say thanks.”


Related Links:

Ways of Giving - Real Estate

"Handing Over the Keys" in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine



In addition to English, Mount Holyoke’s faculty speak over 50 languages. Over 30 percent of faculty were born abroad.

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