A Clear Vision for the Future

Diane Bessell ’59
Diane Bessell (third from left)
pictured with Class of ’59
classmates and President
Katherine Bergeron

On September 11, 2020, Connecticut College lost a devoted alumna. During her lifetime, Diane Bessell '59 was a very loyal, consistent donor to the College. She made her annual fund gift every year and was an active participant in her class. Diane strategically planned the gifts that would come to the College through her estate, and we are now realizing the efforts of that careful planning.

Diane had a vision to establish a fund at Connecticut College that would link the College's international efforts to the Office of Sustainability and the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment. Through bequest gifts, the newly established Diane Bessell '59 Endowed Fund for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development was established this year. In partnership between the Walter Commons for Global Study and Engagement and the Toor Cummings Center for International Study and the Liberal Arts, Diane's fund will immediately increase the number of student internships; engage inspiring practitioners from our alumni community and our global partners in Asia, Africa, and Latin America; and develop robust programming for participants and the campus about international cooperation and sustainable development.

Bessell Fellows will participate in structured workshops focused on ethical approaches to sustainable development in the international arena and preparation for internships abroad. As a cohort, Bessell Fellows will leverage their internship experiences to raise awareness on campus as well as our extended local community about the social, environmental, and economic causes and impacts of global challenges and holistic sustainable solutions to these challenges.

Many years ago, Diane had in-depth conversations with the College to outline the use of her named fund. She also strategically planned for gifts to arrive in a variety of ways:

1) Diane established two charitable gift annuities during her lifetime, with the designation directed to her endowed fund. She enjoyed the stable, secure payments the gift annuities afforded throughout her life. When the annuities terminated, a significant remainder came to the College.

2) Diane named Connecticut College as the beneficiary of two of her retirement plans. This is an incredibly easy way to make a bequest gift to a charity. The Office of Gift Planning knew that when these distributions arrived that they would be directed to her Fund because we had many conversations with Diane during her lifetime.

3) Diane named Connecticut College as a percentage beneficiary of her estate.

We are incredibly grateful to Diane and her family for her generosity and foresight to strengthen international programs and sustainability education at Connecticut College.


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