Jeralyn Delisi Lowe ’64, G’65: Giving Now and in the Future
Life at Syracuse University was a bit different when Jeralyn Delisi Lowe ’64, G’65 was a student here. Residence halls had a curfew—9 p.m. on weeknights and just a little after midnight on weekends. Female students were expected to wear blouses, cardigans, skirts, knee socks, and penny loafers, which were the height of fashion at the time. They were strongly discouraged from wearing pants or slacks, except on the coldest, snowiest days.
Some of Jeralyn's favorite memories of her time at SU include watching her friend stand on the roof of their residence hall tossing underwear during a panty raid, and the time the fraternity boys who lived next door to her Chi Omega sorority house sent a television set hurtling to the pavement, just for fun.
Those special times-and the excellent education she received at SU—inspired Jeralyn to help future students have the same—or better—Syracuse University experience.
"My parents made sure I had a degree to fall back on," says Jeralyn, who earned a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandizing from what was then the College of Home Economics and a master's degree in education at SU. "Syracuse University was a training ground for me—it gave me the experience of cherishing relationships and taught me self-discipline."
After graduation, Jeralyn began working in Project Head Start in California, then took a position with the Michigan Department of Social Services, where she worked for 30 years, serving for 18 years as a director of county public welfare.
Through the years, Jeralyn has given to the SU colleges that housed her undergraduate major. "No one goes into social work expecting to get rich," she says. "I gave what I could." Recently, she decided to donate a larger amount to the School of Social Work, providing an unrestricted gift in her trust. "From serving on the boards of many child welfare and family service agencies in the past 40 years, I learned how important and rare it is to receive donations that can be used for out-of-the box ideas to aid faculty, or for other opportunities," she says. "That's why my gift is unrestricted."
Since she plans to live at least another 30 years, Jeralyn also decided to give an additional gift now, to support current faculty and students. "Interestingly, giving now has some tax advantages," she says. "When it's time for me to begin taking a required distribution from my IRA, I will need higher tax deductions. So my gifts may need to increase rather than decrease."
Jeralyn encourages other alumni to give to the University, during their lifetimes and in their trusts and wills. "For me, there is a depth of satisfaction and ‘rightness' about this," she says. "I believe it is financially strategic, smart planning, and most of all, emotionally satisfying."
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