Campaign: Gift supports Speech and Hearing Center

Above: Tracie Rice, clinical audiologist at Western's Speech and Hearing Center, shows a hearing aid to Brett Woods, campus campaign director, and student Patricia Hutchens (at right).

Above: Tracie Rice, clinical audiologist at Western’s Speech and Hearing Center, shows a hearing aid to Brett Woods, campus campaign director, and student Patricia Hutchens (at right).

Brett Woods, who helps lead The Campaign for Western in his role as campus campaign director, not onlyincreased his personal contribution to the Loyalty Fund but also has established an estate gift.

“I came across some paperwork and realized I had not named beneficiaries for some of my retirement accounts,” said Woods, director of annual and special gifts at Western Carolina University. “I decided to direct part of my estate to Western. We invite people to give to the areas that mean the most to them, and I saw an opportunity to give to a program on campus that means a lot to me – Western’s Speech and Hearing Center.”

Woods sent copies of the documentation that identifies his beneficiaries to Western’s Development Office and completed a statement of intent that stipulated where he would like the gift to be directed. Woods asked that half support an endowed fund that benefits the center’s operation, and half support an endowed fund for a scholarship for communication disorders students committed to a career in Western North Carolina.

Campaign_logo09“The center truly serves the people of our community, and I am one of those people who are grateful for their help,” said Woods. He has had difficulty hearing since childhood, and the center at Western helped him adapt and test different devices that made it easier to hear in settings such as a crowded meetings, restaurants or Fine and Performing Arts Center events.

Woods said he also is moved by the commitment of students, alumni and faculty to the communications sciences and disorders program. Woods described Tabitha Alston, who as a WCU student from Hope Mills talked about her dream of opening a speech and hearing clinic. Woods worked with WCU alumna Margie Gibbs Motsinger, who opened her own clinic, the Cheshire Center in Greensboro, and recently started a scholarship at WCU. Woods also pointed to faculty such as Yvonne Saddler Nielsen, who worked in the communication disorders program for more than 25 years and continues to support the program through an endowed scholarship she established.

“The dedication of these people and others like them inspired me to make a gift that would have a transformational impact on others by giving them hearing or improving their speech. Making the gift was a matter of filling out a form. It was so simple, and yet it can have a great impact down the road,” said Woods.

Jim Manring, senior director of development, said commitments such as Woods’ are among the most noble and thoughtful contributions a person can make. “While they are long term by nature, Western has received several meaningful planned gifts which help to meet a variety of needs across the campus,” said Manring. “We appreciate hearing from individuals who have included Western in their estate plans so that we can express our appreciation and make certain we have an understanding of how they intend the gift to be used.”

For more information about The Campaign for Western, check out Giving to WCU.