Committing Early to a Lasting Impact

Joel Hewett

Joel Hewett '07

When the term "planned giving" is used, it's often thought of as something more seasoned alumni do...a later-in-life decision to include Davidson in estate plans and to think about a forever legacy on campus. Nowadays, the timeline is changing.

Joel Hewett '07 recently started a new job, and as he was busy filling out the standard new job paperwork about retirement planning and the like, he went ahead and made his annual contribution to The Fund for Davidson. Following the required fields, he noticed a link to planned giving.

"I read the information on Davidson's site about wills and estate planning, and I decided I needed to go ahead and get that done," said Hewett, only 28 years old. "The named entities in my will are now my parents, my brother and Davidson — all the things that matter most to me. I also thought it would be cool to be a part of the Maxwell Chambers Society. It showed me that planned giving is something Davidson's serious about, not a last-minute effort tacked on to annual giving."

Figuring out a way to have a lasting impact at Davidson was not a new idea to Hewett. He appreciates his path as a student and how the institution prepared him for the world.

"I was an English major who ended up being interested in the history of technology," he said. "In some ways, these two fields couldn't be more different, but at the core, you're telling a story. I know at some schools this shift would have been discouraged, but at Davidson, you're always pushed to branch out and pursue interdisciplinary work, so that's what I did."

He ended up as a policy analyst on offshore oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico, so his approach to learning paid off.

Hewett likes the idea of thinking 50, 60, 70 years down the road and how his decision to give to Davidson will make a difference for students.

"As I imagine what the first week on campus will be like for students then, it's easier to understand the people who made my years at Davidson possible," he said. "Without trying to quote The Lion King, it really is the circle of life."