John and Carol Worley

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 John and Carol Worley Donors College of WoosterOn the donor recognition wall outside Kauke Hall there's a large brick that bears witness to just how deep John Worley's Wooster roots go. On it are inscribed three generations of Scots, including John and Carol, his wife of 56 years; their grandson, Ben; and John's parents and brother.

John and Carol met at a dance in the basement of Babcock. "We'd been in Aileen Dunham's history class together, but I'd never really spoken with her," he recalls. "I asked her to dance; we hit it off and got married a year later."

The couple moved to Pittsburgh where John completed a master's in geology at the University of Pittsburgh and then to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he spent ten years with Texaco before striking out on his own as an independent geologist.

Oil exploration is not for the faint of heart. A skilled geologist can evaluate and interpret clues that an area may hold promise; but ultimately you don't know what, if anything, is there until you start drilling. You may find nothing, or tap a source that peters out after a few weeks or months, or one that produces oil for years. John notes with quiet pride that he and his partners "established some production that's still going today."

In any field, the value of an asset that produces consistently year after year is obvious. That's why, in addition to contributing to the Kauke renovation and giving faithfully to The Wooster Fund for almost 50 years, John and Carol have made several gifts to the College's endowment, establishing an endowed scholarship and the F.W. Cropp III Geology Fieldwork Endowment.

While they have made some gifts of appreciated securities, their preferred charitable vehicle has been the deferred, two-life gift annuity. As with a standard gift annuity, the donor (and a survivor beneficiary in a two-life annuity) receives a fixed-dollar return annually for life. But, as the name implies, the donor can delay the commencement of those payments until a designated future date, while still receiving a charitable income-tax deduction now.

"There are two or three very favorable things about this arrangement," John said. "First, there's the significant tax advantage of a large charitable deduction for the year in which you make the donation. There's the guaranteed future income. And finally there's the support it provides for the College when we're gone: we're providing a valuable asset for Wooster in the long run." Just as important is what the Worleys' endowment gifts accomplish.

"Our family believes very strongly in education. We're happy to help make Wooster affordable for more people."