Hazel Thorson Stoeckeler: Gratitude and Lifetime Income—A Generous Gift Pays Back in More Ways Than One
Throughout her rich and varied career spanning more than seven decades, Hazel Thorson Stoeckeler has played many roles: educator, wife, visual artist, mother, university professor and world traveler.
Stoeckeler has visited all seven continents in her extensive travels, during which she captured her impressions through hundreds of 4x6-inch watercolor paintings and sketches. More than 40 of these paintings were recently published in Porthole Views of the World (in collaboration with poet Elizabeth Weber).
For those who have met Stoeckeler, these diminutive paintings might seem in character, since she stands less than 5 feet in height. In reality, however, they mask an imagination and talent of enormous magnitude. Two of Stoeckeler's best-known works are murals, including the 10x45-foot mural, "The Epic of Minnesota's Great Forests," in the University of Minnesota's Green Hall.
This talent and enthusiasm for teaching brought her to the University of Minnesota's department of design, where she taught for 27 years. Her retirement in 1981 as a tenured associate professor did not, however, signal an end to her teaching. Stoeckeler continued to share her love for the visual arts through community and adult-education settings.
And then she discovered Augsburg's "College of the Third Age," a program for older learners at neighborhood sites.
"I am so grateful to Augsburg for recognizing and valuing the talents and experience of retired teachers like myself," said Stoeckeler. "It's been a blessing to work with a college that understands learning is lifelong."
It was this gratitude that triggered her decision to give back to Augsburg in a very tangible way, by establishing a scholarship fund for students majoring in the visual arts.
"I've known of the benefits of charitable gift annuities for some time," remarked Stoeckeler. "I've established several of them with other nonprofits, and wanted to do the same for Augsburg." She likes the regular annuity payments from Augsburg, as well as the charitable deduction for her federal income taxes.
She was pleasantly surprised, however, by another benefit—membership in the Sven Oftedal Society. When Stoeckeler established her first charitable gift annuity at Augsburg (she's now done two of them), she became a member of the Sven Oftedal Society, which recognizes those who have made a future gift commitment to the College.
"With my own Norwegian heritage," Stoeckeler noted, "it was delightful to learn of the impact Sven Oftedal, a Norwegian immigrant, had on Augsburg. And it's an even greater delight to meet current Augsburg students, knowing they represent the young people who will one day benefit from my scholarship fund."
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