Grateful Scholarship Recipient Gives Wisely with IRA Rollover Gifts to Support Future Bearcats

Sammie (Barker) McCormack ’61Starting your college career during the height of an influenza epidemic may not sound like the most auspicious beginning, but for Sammie (Barker) McCormack ’61 she can’t imagine her freshman year any other way.

“The flu bug hit right away in the fall of 1957,” she says. “It sort of closed down campus. It was hard on all of us.” McCormack and her fellow Bearcats decided to shape their own campus experiences. “Much of what we did my freshman year was not on the official agenda of Willamette, but I think that’s what helped create this amazing, campus-wide camaraderie.”

She built a successful and fulfilling career based upon the skills she learned while attending Willamette—an opportunity that would not have been possible for her without scholarship assistance. “Somebody saw the potential in me, and I received scholarships every year I attended,” she says. "Willamette is so special, and I want future generations of Bearcats to have that same opportunity. I want to pay it forward.”

And pay it forward she does, by supporting the Class of 1961 Scholarship Fund with gifts from her IRA. If you are 72 or older, gifts made from your IRA count toward your required minimum distribution and are not included in your adjusted gross income.

“My hope is that today’s scholarship recipients will pay it forward one day when they can. That’s what it’s all about,” she says.


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