Gift from Richard Zipser ’64 Establishes Endowed Study Abroad Financial Aid Fund

Colby College is pleased to accept a $100,000 gift from Richard A. Zipser ’64 to establish an endowed financial aid fund for students completing academic programs in Germany or Austria. Now retired, Zipser, former chair of the Department of German and Russian at Oberlin College and of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Delaware, spent his junior year at Colby studying in the Black Forest region of Germany.

The opportunity to study abroad offers students global perspectives and the experience of exploring parts of the world they haven’t seen before, Zipser said. “That was the defining moment in my education. I got to Germany and the language, the literature, and the culture—but also the philosophy, the art history, the music—all came together in this great intellectual environment. It was like turning the kaleidoscope until something takes form.”

He hopes the Richard A. Zipser ’64 Endowed Financial Aid Fund leads to similar experiences for current and future Colby students. Zipser provided the initial funding for the gift via a qualified charitable distribution, otherwise known as an IRA charitable rollover, which is a tax-friendly option for donors who are 70.5 and older. Zipser may further expand the fund’s support through his estate plan.

“Colby taught me how to write and how to think,” said Zipser, who has written widely about his experiences. “I am very aware of what Colby did for me, and I am immensely grateful.”

Zipser recently published the book Memories of Life in East Germany: Snapshots, a companion to Remembering East Germany, which he published in 2021.

“The opportunity to study overseas enriched Richard’s life. With this generous gift, Colby is able to extend that experience to other students, whose lives will be equally enriched,” said Vice President and Chief Institutional Advancement Officer Matt Proto.

“We are grateful to Richard for his willingness to help students of today and tomorrow enjoy similar experiences.” 

Expanding Access at Home and Abroad

Colby has become a national leader in access and affordability among colleges and universities and in providing students with unique and life-changing educational opportunities. The Richard A. Zipser ’64 Endowed Financial Aid Fund will help further that effort by supporting students who study abroad. The College offers nearly 200 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries, and approximately 70 percent of Colby students take advantage of those opportunities.  

Dare Northward has played a major role in taking Colby’s financial aid to the next level in transformative ways. With more than $76 million in financial aid gifts since the start of the campaign, donors make this commitment possible. The College’s ability to expand its financial aid programs is a reflection of a community made up of passionate and generous donors like Zipser. 

Power of Legacy Giving

Colby donors can take advantage of planned financial vehicles to expand their support of the College and their other philanthropic passions. Those who are 70.5 and older can make a qualified charitable distribution, as Zipser did to fund his gift. Other tax-friendly vehicles include gifts of appreciated securities or donor-advised funds. 

Future gifts to Colby also have a great collective impact, with most coming to the College via a simple gift in a will, trust, retirement plan, or life insurance policy, which are easy to arrange. These gifts bridge the gap between the past and future of the College, creating a legacy that will allow generations of students to benefit from the Colby experience, including Colby’s expansive study abroad programs.

“I’m so pleased when donors blend current and future giving in a tax-conscious way to make a lasting impact with endowed funds,” said Director of Gift Planning Valerie Sherman. 

The Colby Legacy Society, which currently has 772 members, recognizes individuals who have made special gifts through their estate commitments. Alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends who honor Colby through their financial plans ensure the College will continue to offer a world-class liberal arts education for generations to come.