The Story of Jack '61 and Fran Gleeson

As a scholarship student-athlete in the late ’50s and early ’60s, Jack Gleeson ’61 understands the importance of giving. Gleeson and his wife, Fran, are members of the 1830 Society at Spring Hill College. They have chosen to leave a legacy gift to the College in their will.

“It is a progression of giving,” Gleeson said of the planned gift the couple has decided to make to the College. He said they have made various gifts through the years to their high schools and Spring Hill College, but this gift he thought would close the loop. “We have been very fortunate that several good things have happened to us financially and wanted to leave a legacy at each institution that we were part of, and Spring Hill falls into that big time for me.”

An involved alumnus, Gleeson served 10 years on the National Alumni Association Board and 10 years working with the Houston chapter. He was recruited out of high school in his hometown of New York City to play basketball for Spring Hill. He was offered a full scholarship that afforded him the opportunity to go to school during the day with no other concerns.

“The plan was for me to get a job as soon as I graduated high school and attend night school,” he said. “My parents were Irish immigrants and my dad worked in the retail business for R. H. Macy in New York. I had three sisters; we lived in a three-room apartment, and I grew up playing sports in the public school yard or in the street.”

For Gleeson, his full scholarship to Spring Hill College, which he estimated to be about $12,000, felt like the equivalent of a million dollars. He said the culture in the late ’50s was to get a job, go to work, and take care of your family.

“He wouldn’t have had an education without a scholarship, or it would have been difficult finish with so many distractions,” Fran Gleeson said.

The Gleesons understand the reality students are faced with when looking at the costs of education. Spring Hill opened Gleeson’s eyes to a different culture than he was accustomed to and allowed for him to travel all over the Southeast.

“It is hard to describe all the things it has meant to me over the years, looking back some 50 years. When I was here the Jesuits at that time truly looked out for our interests,” he said. “Just being here in this community you learned things; you met people from all over the country.”

The Gleesons have chosen Spring Hill College as one of their priorities for these very reasons. “It is important that students today have the same opportunity I received 50 years ago,” Gleeson said. “These young people today are going to be the future leaders of our country, fight our battles, fight our wars, run businesses and hopefully make the good ole USA as good as it is or even better than it is today.”

Fran Gleeson said, “We always gave something, even when we didn’t have much. The more you give away, the more you get back.”

“Once you become educated on what legacy giving is, it is simple and you realize there is plenty to go around,” Gleeson said. He explained planned giving is something he thought they really should be participating in, “There is annual giving, there is the capital campaign, a current initiative like scholarships, so who is better to be able to support the College than those who are willing to part with their inheritance – I wanted to have my name on that list.”

“If you asked me about this when I was 30, I would have said ‘what will are you talking about?’” Gleeson said. “It is an important step in the process of giving. At a certain point in your life it will dawn on you that ‘I need to do that’ and you close the loop.”

At Spring Hill College you can make your gift with ease. When drafting or making an adjustment to your will, advise your attorney of the percentage or amount you would like to leave the College, or if you would like to designate money for something specific, such as a particular scholarship.

For more information on Planned Giving, contact Rinda Mueller at (251) 380-2285, (877) 777-4455, or rmueller@shc.edu. Visit the Planned Giving Web site for other ways to make a gift to Spring Hill.

 

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