Summer adventures in the White Mountains initially brought Jane Ander to New Hampshire, but she stayed for an Antioch education (and New England fall foliage, of course).
A graduate of Antioch New England’s Integrated Learning MEd program, class of ‘87, Ander looks back on her Antioch experience and remembers appreciating it as a solid education that aligned perfectly with her values. “I taught for close to 30 years and never wavered from my beliefs and values, such as a holistic approach to instruction and child-centered learning, which were reinforced through the teaching philosophy and methods I learned at Antioch,” she says.
During her second summer in the White Mountains, Ander was investigating schools that had a progressive approach to education at the elementary level, and a mentor suggested several programs including Antioch. It was after visiting the New England campus and talking with Teaching Faculty David Sobel that she decided to apply. She chose the Integrated Learning program for its community and progressive philosophy. At Antioch, she found like-minded fellow students and inspiring instructors. Anders completed her teaching practicum at The Nelson School in Nelson, NH where, after receiving her degree, she was hired and continued to teach for eight years.
For all of these reasons, Ander was inspired to give back to the university which helped to shape her fulfilling career as an educator. Now, as a donor, she’s part of a new community: The Antioch University Legacy Society, which is a planned giving initiative centered around the celebration of individuals and families who have included the university in their estate plans, wills, or gifts of assets.
Gratitude and Giving Back
“Antioch University New England gave me a community of scholars, both faculty and students, who greatly enriched my journey to a PhD in Environmental Studies,” says Nancy Rich, class of 2011. “I was happy to give back by designating part of my life insurance to go to Antioch as a bequest.”
Antioch University has long had a vibrant community of benefactors made up primarily of alumni who highly value and appreciate how their Antioch experiences and education have enriched their lives and careers – and by extension, how the university as a whole contributes to a more socially responsible society. The Antioch University Legacy Society, which is still in its planning stages, aims to honor all of them and will also provide opportunities for people to come together around this shared interest. It also streamlines the process of giving (which can be a headache!). “This arrangement was very easy to set up, thanks to the quick assistance of staff in Institutional Advancement,” says Rich of her experience with setting up her bequest.
Pat Wand, class of ‘67 echoes Rich in the sentiment behind her gift. “Antioch Putney Graduate School played a pivotal role in my education and personal development,” she says. “The MAT I earned there provided a career platform that serves me to this day. I made a bequest to Antioch University New England because I wanted to give to the institution in the way it gave to me – for the long term.”
Also among those honored by the Legacy Society are donors like Dr. Kelley Wood, a veteran of the U.S. Army who earned his bachelor’s degree at Antioch New England, and then a master’s degree in business administration, class of ‘99. When Wood passed away in 2021, he chose to remember Antioch in his estate plans.
Dr. Sandra Meggert (known as Sandi) was an influential and well-loved faculty member in Antioch University Seattle’s MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. When she passed away in 2016, she included in her estate funding for a new scholarship to be established in her name, supporting Black, Indigenous, and people of color students in the counseling programs where she taught. The Sandra Meggert Scholarship was established with the aim of opening the door to prospective counselors from underrepresented backgrounds for whom the high cost of education is prohibitive.
Shaping Antioch’s Future
“Legacy giving is, by all accounts, one of the ultimate forms of generosity,” says Bill Groves, Chancellor of Antioch University. “Since our inception 170 years ago, Antioch University has been fortunate to receive generous gifts from thousands of our alumni and friends who believe in our mission to educate students to dedicate their lives and use their careers to advance social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and democracy.”
Legacy contributions have a broad, far-reaching impact. In addition to student scholarships, the gifts support faculty fellowships and research initiatives, innovative teaching and learning spaces, and the technology upgrades needed to stay current. Contributions not only help to ensure the future of Antioch University, but they also give members the opportunity to help shape what that future looks like through the programs and actions they choose to support or endow.
In addition to recognition as Legacy Society members in the University’s Honor Roll of Donors, membership benefits in the Legacy Society will include invitations to special events, the goal of which will be to celebrate donors and their families and to further build and develop the Antioch spirit that has benefitted so many in their education and career journeys.
Antioch’s Director of Institutional Advancement, Laura Andrews, who is spearheading the Legacy Society initiative, feels gratified by the response. “We have quite a number of alumni who really valued their Antioch experience,” she says. “I hear time and again that the experience was life changing – that ever since their graduation, they have been giving to Antioch as a way of showing support. Some of our graduates have only started to donate recently, but other alumni have given for 30, 40, and even 50 years. The inclusion of Antioch in their estate plans continues this support. It will most likely be the biggest gift to Antioch they give, and paves the way for future students to attend Antioch.”