Bruce Banks started following UConn sports when he was just eight years old and would listen to UConn basketball games on WTIC radio.
Later, as a Husky student, he followed the basketball and football teams religiously and was part of the broadcast team for the football team on WHUS, UConn’s community and student radio station.
He earned a business degree from UConn in 1977 and in 1982 added another degree from the College of Allied Health.
He made one fateful trip back to campus in 1986 to speak out at a hearing on whether UConn should consider leaving the Big East conference.
“It’s hard to believe now that there was a hearing like that,” he said. “If you aspire to greatness, it would have been the most foolish decision ever. The road we chose was to continue and look at all the success we had afterward.”
His lifelong passion and support for UConn athletics led him to make a more serious commitment recently. As he edged toward his 60th birthday, he decided that he would leave part of his estate to the Division of Athletics.
“Contributing to my beloved university is a great use of the money,” he said.
Banks sees his planned gift as a way to support and promote UConn’s rising academic reputation.
“I believe that part of being a great flagship university is you have to have visibility,” he explained. “The way you get visibility is through your front porch. That front porch is your athletic teams, to borrow a phrase from UConn President Susan Herbst. It’s the visibility that gets you more applications, a better student body, and more contributions to the endowment.”
“I want UConn to continue to be ranked in the top 20 of state universities in U.S. News & World Report ratings. If we continue at that level we’ll be doing great,” he said.
Banks, an accounting and human resources manager for the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, always intended to leave a planned gift. He was not sure how to go about it until he connected with a member of the UConn Athletic Development staff for the UConn Foundation. He was told about planned giving at UConn, a strategic way for donors to make a significant contribution that may not otherwise have been possible during a donor’s lifetime. These gifts range from a bequest, appreciation securities, gifts of retirement accounts, and gifts of life insurance to charitable income gifts.
Planned giving donors are honored as members of the Charles Lewis Beach Society, named after UConn’s fifth president, whose tenure ran from 1908-1928.
Charles Lewis Beach members don’t pay dues or have any obligations, and their membership gives the University a chance to thank them and recognize them for the plans they’ve made. Benefits of membership in the Charles Lewis Beach Society also include annual luncheons, invitations to special events and seminars, and a subscription to the group’s newsletter.