"Why I Give" – Donor Profiles

Donations to the Porter-Gaud Foundation come in for a number of reasons. Parents and Grandparents show their appreciation for the impact we are having on the lives of their children and grandchildren. Alumni give because of the influence Porter-Gaud had on their lives. Our faculty and staff give to show dedication and loyalty to the School they love so much. Below are just a few of the many stories about why people give.

Andrew Savage '94

One of the reasons that my high school experience was unique is that it created a foundation for a lifelong connection to my alma mater. For example, I remain connected to the faculty. Thankfully, Sue Chanson continued to fail my work until I learned not to write fragmented sentences. I think of her every time I write for medical journals. I also remain connected to my fellow students. Nearly every day I run into fellow alumni at the Medical University of S.C. I am certain there is no other high school with so many alumni at MUSC. Lastly, I remain connected with the campus. My eldest son, Drew, will be entering the first grade in the fall. Every time I walk across the green at Porter-Gaud, my heart swells with pride as the gifts that Porter Gaud bestowed upon me will now be bestowed in my son.

Anne Blakeney Kelley '94

When I think back on my 12 years at PG, I am so thankful for the many opportunities I was given not just in the classroom but also in the arts building, the community service projects and on the playing field. The dedicated teachers and staff at PG are so invested in the personal development of each student and I appreciate the individuals like Marge Harrison, Sue Chanson, Tom Evatt, Jeannie Gleaton and Randy Clark who inspired me to work harder and reach higher. When we began looking at schools for our daughter, (and two other children) I was amazed to see the many faculty and staff that were still on campus (and that Mrs. Gleaton’s room was still full of amazing artwork!). This continuity, along with PG’s strong emphasis on faith and spiritual life is what I think makes the school so unique.

My husband and I both feel that giving back to a place that gave me so much and that makes my daughter smile on a daily basis is so important. We want to see Porter-Gaud thrive for another 150 years.

Dr. Thomas Puckette ’81 and his two brothers, Stephen '75 and Trap '84, all graduated from Porter-Gaud. After PG, Thomas attended University of Virginia and then went on to pursue his medical training at MUSC, the Medical College of Virginia, and UVa. Today he is a member of Charleston Radiologists practicing here in the Lowcountry. When the time came for Thomas and his wife Libby to choose where to send their son Stephen for first grade there was no question or struggle. "We initially chose Porter-Gaud based on personal history and its strong academic reputation. Over time we came to realize the vital role that faith plays in everyday life and education. The presence of a strong faith community and its incorporation into the educational process was an encouragement to us as parents and a great blessing to our son"

Worship, religious instruction, and moral character development are points of differentiation that draw many like the Puckettes to Porter-Gaud. Thomas and Libby have been loyal supporters of the 1867 Society, Porter-Gaud’s annual fund, for more than 20 years. Often, they direct their annual gift to support programs that are important to them, such as the Chaplaincy program, or the Stephen E. Puckette III Scholarship. The Puckette scholarship, established in 1994 by Thomas’ parents in memory of his brother Stephen, is awarded each year to a student who demonstrates deep character and who is an active member of a Christian congregation. “As past PG parents, we are gratified to see that the school continues to incorporate faith into education and character development, and grateful for the positive impact that Porter-Gaud has had on two generations of our family.”

*picture: Thomas and Libby Puckette with the 2014-2015 Puckette Scholar, Amy Ferrira.

Len Hutchison '06

"When I reflect on my years at Porter-Gaud, I’m drawn back to one thought: Porter-Gaud is about people. I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be where I am today without the people of Porter-Gaud. Larry Salley taught me that I’ll never know who I can be until I know where I came from, and Dr. McArver showed me that I cannot reach my full potential without confidence and drive. Randy Clark taught me about the value of respect and about pushing myself to be better than I was yesterday, and John Pearson showed me that it is okay to be your toughest critic if you can channel that into something positive. Porter-Gaud gave me friends that I will know for the rest of my life and taught me lessons I’ll never forget. When I came to Porter-Gaud in the sixth grade, I couldn’t have imagined the incredible impact it would have on my life."

Ben Sapp ’87 is most remembered by Porter-Gaud faculty as a sportsman in the field and stream. Almost 30 years later this general practice attorney is still an avid outdoorsman. After receiving his Bachelors and JD from the University of South Carolina, Ben opened Sapp Law Firm in Walterboro, SC – not too far from his hometown, and close to the wonderful opportunities the ACE Basin offers a lover of the outdoors. “Porter-Gaud provided me with the best education I could ask for. Matriculating as a college freshman and later in law school I was well-equipped to tackle my studies, and eventually, to run a law practice.”

Ben is a former second tier Public Defender, served on the Colleton County Planning Commission for several years, was previously the city attorney for Cottageville, SC, and serves as Vice President of the Colleton County Bar Association – and on top of all that, he is also an Eagle Scout that worked at Philmont Scout Ranch as a ranger. He has supported PG’s 1867 Society for the past six years, because, “In addition to the strong academic grounding afforded me by PG, I am grateful for the lifetime friendships with fellow classmates. It is important that you give back to Porter-Gaud.”

Legacy Donors

Miles Barkley ‘77, Former Porter-Gaud Trustee

As part of Miles Barkley’s service on the Porter-Gaud Board of Trustees (2005-2012), he led the Long Range Planning Committee that worked for two years to produce a solid Strategic Plan that continues to drive Porter-Gaud today. It was during this experience that Miles decided to name Porter-Gaud a beneficiary of his estate, thus becoming one of the first members of Porter-Gaud’s WATCH Tower Circle.

“As we grappled with strategic issues ranging from maximizing enrollment to fostering character development to expanding diversity, I was struck by the importance of providing not only for present day needs but also for ensuring the future of our school. The bequest in my will is not only a vote of confidence for Porter-Gaud today, but my belief that this investment in the school will help future generations experience bright tomorrows. If the roots of the school are strong its message and impact will be around for many generations."

Naming Porter-Gaud a beneficiary in his will was surprisingly easy and inexpensive to implement. Miles sees it as an investment that won’t mature before he does and provides the flexibility for him to make commitments of financial support to P-G consistent with his current economic reality.

Colleen Thompson Jones ’97, Porter-Gaud math teacher

“Porter-Gaud School has been a part of my life since I was 6 years old. At Porter-Gaud I have been a 12 Year Society student, a teacher, an advisor, an administrator and now an Alumni Relations Associate with Porter-Gaud Foundation. My husband, father, sister and cousins have all attended Porter-Gaud, so I think it goes without saying that Porter-Gaud is my home away from home. Joining the WATCH Tower Circle was a no-brainer for me, since it was an easy way for me to give back to the institution that has had such a large and positive impact on my life. I named Porter-Gaud the tertiary beneficiary of my life insurance policy, which allows me to be generous to PG in a manner that reflects how deeply I treasure what Porter-Gaud has given to me. My planned gift is my way of ensuring that my children will have the same wonderful, if not better, experience as a Cyclone that I had.”

Alfred G. Pinckney, Past Parent, Porter-Gaud Planned Giving Technical Advisor

“My daughter Julia attended Porter-Gaud from 1978 - 1984, and during her time here I actively served as part of the Fathers Association. The school was looking for new and creative avenues for increasing our endowment, and being a financial planning professional I recommended they explore life insurance as a giving vehicle for our donors. I and several others set up life insurance policies in 1980, and assigned the ownership and benefit of each policy to Porter-Gaud. At that time we were younger, our children were still in school and our careers were growing, and doing this allowed us to leverage smaller annual payments against a more significant long-term gift to Porter-Gaud. I have directed that when I die, my life insurance policy benefit will be restricted to an existing endowed award at Porter-Gaud that has special meaning to me. In this way, my gift will help grow Porter-Gaud’s endowment, and also continue to support a named award that is special to me for years and years to come.”

Jim Stelling ‘68, Porter-Gaud Trustee, Past Parent

"As I look back on my experience at Porter - Gaud, many memories and lessons learned come to mind. Words such as kindness, hard work, respect and discipline were all an integral part of that experience. Kindness was certainly shown to me when Berkeley Grimball gave me a scholarship to finish high school at PG when our family had suffered a setback. Our teachers worked us hard, treated us with respect, as we did them. This culture has served Porter-Gaud alumni well over the years and in my mind, our planned gift is a great way for me and Kathy to simply say, Thank You!"

Robert and Elizabeth Vingi , Porter-Gaud Parents

“Our entire family has benefited immensely from its association with Porter-Gaud School. Our three sons have thrived here from first grade through graduation. Our parents have seen their grandchildren grow with a passion for excellence: in sport and academia. We have benefited socially through relationships established in the Parents Guild, the Fathers’ Association, the faculty and the board. We have shared the pride of the schools singular advancements through the past twenty years, and are confident her best days lie ahead. Charleston, our home, also benefits greatly from the presence of Porter Gaud. The schools traditions of excellence create a benchmark for her peers, a path for opportunity for those young people willing to pursue it, and a legacy of giving back from its accomplished graduates. Porter Gaud is worthy of our best. We are delighted and humbled to give back in any way we can.”

We invite you to join the WATCH Tower Circle. There are a variety of ways to do so, including options that can provide tangible benefits to you and your family. Contact Tucker Branham, Executive Director, at 843-402-4690 or tbranham@portergaud.edu to learn more.