Mark and Nancy C. Hillis have long recognized their motivations for philanthropically supporting Florida State University.
"The most important motivation is the relationships we have built over the years with fellow alumni, University leaders and administrators, faculty and students. As graduates of Florida State, we recognize the value of our education and want to do everything we can to provide opportunities for students to obtain an outstanding education and advance our alma mater," says Mark.
Mark, who earned a bachelor's degree in finance, and Nan, who earned a bachelor's degree in finance and marketing, have both made the most of their education from their beloved alma mater.
Mark retired from SunTrust in 2002 as a first vice president of real estate finance in Atlanta, and he retired from the Marine Corps at the rank of major after 20 years of active and reserve duty.
For more than 36 years, Nan worked for several financial institutions and retired last year as BB&T's regional president for Central Florida.
The couple's generosity to Florida State has not been limited to their financial commitment. For more than 25 years, Mark and Nan have greatly given of their time as well. Mark served on the FSU Foundation board for 14 years and on the Alumni Association board for nine years. He currently serves on the University's Board of Trustees and chairs its Finance, Business and Audit Committee. Nan served as co-chair of the FSU Connect Capital Campaign and served on the Alumni Association board for six years. She currently chairs the College of Business board, the same board Mark had chaired and served on for nearly 24 years.
The couple established their first bequest to Florida State in 1988, but have amended it several times. As they have become even more engaged with Florida State, they are in the process of amending it again to make a transformational impact across many areas of campus.
"We have chosen to support several areas of the University, including the College of Business, Undergraduate Studies and Honors programs, Graduate School and Fellows programs, a Presidential Scholarship Fund, the Student Veterans Center Fund, the FSU Alumni Association Fund and athletic endowments supporting all men's and women's programs," Mark says.
By naming Florida State in their will through a bequest, Mark and Nan will create a legacy that will surely strengthen the University in many facets.
When asked why they chose to use a bequest as a tool to help make a difference at Florida State, Mark says, "Our bequest gives us the opportunity to make our most significant monetary contribution to our alma mater, and at the same time gives us the flexibility to adjust for the unknown as it relates to financial needs during our lifetime."
For others who are considering a bequest or other deferred gift to Florida State, Mark says, "Our advice to donors is to learn as much as you can from FSU Foundation and Seminole Booster development officers and University leaders and administrators about FSU's needs so you can make an informed decision in the best interest of our students and Florida State University."
For more information on how to support FSU, click here.
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