When John Densem ’62 celebrates his 60th Reunion next year, he’ll visit the Trinity Chapel. And while the historic building hasn’t changed over the years, his view of it certainly has. That’s because Densem recently established a charitable gift annuity (CGA), the proceeds of which will be directed toward the Chapel restoration project.
Densem came from Michigan to study at Trinity at the gentle urging of his mother and two Trinity alumni, including George Hardman ’29, the then Dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral. As a student, Densem forged his own path, becoming one of the co-founders of the QED fraternity. He also found the support of faculty members such as Economics Professor Ward Curran and Professor Robert Stewart who nurtured his love of Mathematics, which he would carry into his career as an actuary.
He feels strongly about returning some of the kindness shown him by his professors as well as by donors who provided the financial aid that allowed him to matriculate. “I wanted to find a meaningful way to ‘give back in gratitude’, which is exactly what I’m doing.” Moreover, by establishing a CGA in exchange for his gift, his generosity is an important estate planning tool. “I used proceeds from a CD. The rate for the CGA is substantially higher” said Densem. “I have to start thinking ‘estate conservation’, as I have longevity on both sides of my family.”
The Chapel restoration project presented an opportunity for Densem to accomplish both his philanthropic and estate planning goals. Densem was compelled by the interfaith programming housed within the Chapel. “Having learned how the Chapel has become such a focus of religious expression of so many faiths, far different from my day, and the incredible current presence of Christopher Houlihan ’09 [the John Rose College Organist-and-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music and Adjunct Professor of Music],” is what made up his mind. “Marjorie and Robert Butcher made a gift toward the organ, and thinking of that inspired me,” Densem said. He feels especially connected to the Chapel for its musical and spiritual significance to the college community. “It’s a touchstone for me.”