UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
When youthful and outgoing retirees, Dan and Marilyn Lightfoot of Hudson recently began discussing how they wished to allocate their assets in their will, they knew that something would go to higher education and research. Coming from modest backgrounds, neither had ever had the opportunity to go to college. In spite of this, they were able to work hard and were rewarded with a certain level of career success, Dan in the printing industry and Marilyn at Ecolab in St. Paul. With today’s fast paced and highly competitive job market, they know that such trajectories are now rare, if not impossible.
Desirous of helping improve the field of eye health, something which has touched both Marilyn and Dan personally, they initially looked to UW-Madison’s Eye Research Institute as a beneficiary for their planned gift. While they concluded that they would support research at some level, they chose for the majority of their estate gift to benefit hardworking, undergraduate students from humble beginnings at their “local” university. Their estate now contains a provision for a generous gift to the UWRF Foundation, that will one day endow a scholarship for a biology student in the biomedical track, with a preference for students pursuing a career in optometry.
A few months later, eager to experience firsthand the impact of their generosity, Dan and Marilyn also decided to create an annual scholarship. This time inspired by Dan’s career and passions, the Lightfoot Scholarship will award annually to an incoming freshman art major with an interest in printmaking or photography.
“Things have changed so much that we just wanted to help kids get into this strange new world,” said Dan. “This is our way of giving back and it’s something that we enjoy doing.
Marilyn echoes the sentiment, “Giving back and watching somebody else grow, being able to take the opportunity and go to college and get a degree, to make a difference in the world one day is so exciting. Young people are the ones who keep the world going so we want to make sure they are educated.”