Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, is known for being the school that Steely Dan dropped out of and for being the location of Hannah Arendt’s grave. Speaking of graves, the $75,000/year school is asking alums to allocate money to them using a handy online tool before they die.
It’s common, of course, for schools to beg non-dead people for money. But to beg them to use an app to do so seems a little declasse. In an email that went out to alumni today, Bard announced that they are partnering with FreeWill, a “simple online legal will maker” that “lets you make your last will and testament quick, easy, and completely free.” Not sure why Bard says it is partnering with a free tool, but whatever.
Full email below.
During the most extraordinary moment in a most extraordinary year at Bard, I wanted to express how grateful I am for the entire Bard community. Over the years, the generosity of so many has supported a forward-thinking set of degree programs that democratizes elite college education. A Bard degree is now possible for students in urban high schools and communities, to incarcerated people, and to motivated students in countries around the world.
We have a chance now to secure the future for Bard and every single learner who benefits from a Bard education. I invite you to participate in one of the most important initiatives we have ever undertaken: the Bard Legacy Challenge. To recap, here’s what you need to know:
•No matter how old you are or how much wealth you have, anyone can make a will to protect all they love and create a planned gift to Bard. This is a unique way to build your legacy and cultivate an education that acts as the intersection of education and civil society.
•To participate in this challenge, you can use FreeWill: a free online resource we’ve partnered with to help you make a gift in your will in just 20 minutes.
•You may also have assets not included in your will such as an IRA, 401(k), or life-insurance policy. You can use this free online tool to designate Bard as a beneficiary of these kinds of assets to build a learning environment of excellence and innovation.
•You may also make your own arrangements with your attorney to create your Bard legacy, or designate an existing bequest for Bard’s endowment. If you choose to do so, please fill out this form to let us know so we can thank you for your generosity! More information about different ways you can make a planned gift is available on our website.
As President Botstein says in the above video, Bard is an institution to be proud of, and this truly is a "moment of truth". This is one of the most important moments for all who love Bard to consider making a commitment - even if it is your first gift.
Planned giving is the most democratic form of philanthropy. I ask you to join us in raising our endowment to inspire curiosity, a love of learning, idealism, and a commitment to the link between higher education and civic participation—for generations to come.
Best wishes for a peaceful holiday season.