16 Years of Chancellor’s Circle-Level Giving—No Sign of Stopping

Willard Hoel (CBA ’60)
Willard Hoel dedicates his time, talent, and treasure to the College of Business Administration, the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, and the University as a whole. 

Willard Hoel (CBA ’60) has been a part of the University of Pittsburgh in one way or another for more than 60 years and his roots run even deeper than that.

“I came to Pitt as a student because my dad told me to,” said Will referring to his father, who graduated with a pharmacy degree in 1930. “I didn’t want to be a pharmacist and the sciences were not my forte, so I chose the business school.”

Will immediately got involved with several campus activities including the yearbook; he was a member of the track team, and in his sophomore year, Will joined the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity.

That drive to be involved and part of something bigger than himself continues today and is a trait he is passing on to the next generation of Pitt students.

“I like to use the word ‘obligation,’ but it is also about having a lifelong relationship.”
- Will Hoel

“Beginning with the fraternity, Will has always been great at engaging students who he sees as potential leaders and getting them involved with PIKE and even more broadly,” Scott Dolson (CBA ’08) said of Will. “He has identified some really good guys.”

Will met Scott when he was a freshman and encouraged him to run for a leadership position within the PIKE fraternity. Scott served as the fraternity’s secretary and president, and he was eventually elected president of the Pitt Interfraternity Council.

“I studied abroad the second semester of my senior year, so if Will had not encouraged me to run for office my freshman year, I would not have had enough time to move up through the ranks and hold all the leadership positions I enjoyed,” said Scott, who still considers Will a mentor and meets with him regularly. “He tells students, ‘The whole deck is open to you. You can do whatever you want. Just do something.’”

It was similar advice from a fellow 1960 grad that encouraged Will, who had been an annual donor to Pitt since 1972, to begin giving at the Chancellor’s Circle level in 2002.

“John Bender told me I should start making sizable gifts to my high school alma mater, Central Catholic, so it just seemed automatic that I would do the same for Pitt,” said Will. He was also donating substantial time to the Pitt Alumni Association when he ramped up his giving to Pitt.

“I like to use the word ‘obligation,’ but it is also about having a lifelong relationship.”

Willard Hoel feels he has an “obligation” to give back to his alma mater
Willard Hoel feels he has an “obligation” to give back to his alma mater. 

Will asks fellow graduates “Where are your loyalties?” and then encourages them to support Pitt in a way that makes sense to them—which really benefits the University.

For Will, one of the ways that makes sense is creating a charitable gift annuity (CGA). A CGA works when the donor transfers cash or securities to the University of Pittsburgh, which, in exchange, makes guaranteed fixed payments to the donor and/or another designee, for life. At the time of the beneficiary’s passing, the remaining principal stays with the University to fund general operations or a program chosen by the donor.

In the case of Will’s CGA, his gift will create an endowment that will offer financial support to a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

“I like the tax benefits and the steady income of CGAs as well as knowing the donation will go to an excellent cause when I’m gone,” Will said. “It’s a great way to start or expand your relationship with Pitt.”

Will has also named Pitt in his estate plan and continues to make annual gifts. He is also still investing his time by mentoring new students and helping out the Business School whenever they ask.

“Today’s Pitt business students are top quality,” Will said. “The CBA program is a well-rounded program offering superb teaching, strong internship support, and exceptional study abroad opportunities.”

Taking classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and volunteering with Osher also brings Will back to campus on a regular basis.

“I’ll do anything, any time to help the school,” Will said.

Follow this link to read more stories from this issue of the Chancellor's Circle Update.