Planned Giving

Why We Give

We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.

Ensuring Alvernia's Excellence for Generations

Tom and Helen FlynnTom and Helen Flynn know the importance of ensuring that Alvernia continues to be a place of educational opportunity and excellence for deserving students of all backgrounds. The Flynns have already made two planned gifts to Alvernia University and anticipate further such support. “We recognize the importance of helping ensure that essential program support is guaranteed in perpetuity,” explains Tom.

One of the gifts will expand the endowment for the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program, and the second gift will support faculty excellence, both important to the success of the university. The latter gift, known as the Flynn-Sheimo Faculty Excellence Endowment, has been established to honor Helen’s late parents and Tom’s late mother, all of whom were teachers.

Under Tom’s transformative leadership, Alvernia’s Endowment has more than doubled, while gifts to the University, including the Alvernia Fund, grants, and restricted gifts have all grown exponentially. Tom and Helen remind us that “young schools like Alvernia need alumni, parents, friends, faculty, and even former presidents” to make an impact on future students and faculty members.

Alvernia University is blessed to have forward thinking benefactors like Tom and Helen Flynn, and other members of our St. Clare Society, who have created a legacy of student and faculty opportunity and excellence for generations. Their gifts, as Tom emphasizes, “make it possible for students of all economic backgrounds to attend and flourish at Alvernia.”

Make a Difference

You too can create a legacy like Tom and Helen Flynn and make a difference for Alvernia students, now and in the future. Contact Camille F. Stock at 610.796.5505 or to learn more.



Justin Gibbs

Justin GibbsStudent-athlete Justin Gibbs learned a lot about himself and how to work under pressure while playing two sports at Alvernia (volleyball and tennis) and succeeding in the classroom—achieving his first 4.0 GPA while taking all 400-level classes.

But, his college journey was not an easy one, as he attended several other colleges before choosing to transfer here in 2017.

In his senior year, Justin received the Donna J. Klinikowski Scholarship, which provided the funding he needed to graduate from Alvernia. Donna, an English and Communications professor at Alvernia, and her late husband, Ronald, established the scholarship through her estate plan prior to her passing in 2006.

"The reason why the scholarship was so important is because the school became my home away from home. I was finally proud of a school and felt like it was where I belonged. The scholarship made me feel like Alvernia was investing in me, saying 'we got your back,' which helped me focus in school," Justin says.

"I can also say, without the scholarship, I would not be where I am today—a first-generation college graduate who accomplished something for my family as well. The biggest reward I got from Alvernia are the relationships I have made with my peers, but even more importantly the relationships I have made with faculty and staff, who are first class and always available to help me academically."

You too can make a difference for students like Justin. Contact Camille F. Stock at 610.796.5505 or to learn more.



Steve Keiser '80

Steve Keiser '80Steve Keiser never planned on attending college. He had studied to be an electrician at vo-tech, and was content with that career until a down turn in the economy forced him to consider other options, including college. It took just one visit to Alvernia for Steve to realize that this was the place for him. "I was so impressed with how giving the nuns were," he said. "I had never experienced that before, and they were just awesome, really cool people."

Steve's experience at Alvernia is one he treasures to this day, and he contends that "It's not just a school you go to, it is a place you belong. The quality of education and the staff are exceptional, but even better, there is a feeling of family."

A successful local businessman, Steve had a great desire to "give back" by making a difference at the University. "I was so touched by the benevolence of the Sisters and Alvernia means so much to me, I had to do something to show my gratitude." Steve chose to include his alma mater in his estate plans, naming Alvernia as a beneficiary in his will. In fact, he made that decision decades ago, making him one of the first in the history of the institution to do so.

"Education is so important, and it is not something you can give to someone," he says. "You can provide the opportunity, but it requires their effort. I want to make sure that Alvernia continues to provide that opportunity, and my bequest is evidence of my continued appreciation for the University."

A passionate advocate for Alvernia, Steve currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. "It is a wonderful school with so many wonderful people, and that hasn't changed over the years," he contends. "Even now, if I'm having a bad day, a visit to campus always makes me feel better. It's hard not to be happy when you're at Alvernia!"

Dr. Richard and Gloria Law

Dr. Richard and Gloria LawWhen Dr. Richard A. Law retired from the State System Of Higher Education as an English professor, he thought his days of full-time teaching were over. However, God had a different plan in mind.

Alvernia was looking for an additional adjunct instructor in the English Department, and Dr. Law applied and was invited to join the faculty. He was so impressive in the classroom and his students were so enthralled by his talents that when a full-time position opened, the then-College asked him to apply. He was hired immediately, and has, in total, spent the last 20 years teaching at Alvernia.

In that time, he has developed a deep appreciation of the University. "Alvernia is a friendly, caring community," he states, "and there is such harmony within the English Department, between faculty and students, and with the faculty and administration. In addition, I truly value the openness we have to express our Christian faith. It is one of the joys of being at Alvernia."

Dr. Law's devotion to Catholic education goes back to his childhood. He reveals that, "Of all my education, what I cherish most is my grade school experience with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia. My life has now come full circle in an educational institution with wonderful nuns who are devoted to the Church. The presence of the Bernardine Sisters has always given me great joy."

Richard has been married to the love of his life, Gloria, for over a half century, and his face lights up at the mention of her name. The ultimate team, Mrs. Law's feelings for the University mirror those of her husband. "We appreciate Alvernia so much," he says. "Alvernia gave me a second chance at my career. I had retired from a state institution when my enthusiasm for teaching was beginning to wane, but Alvernia reenergized my career. Gloria has been very happy I am here."

Looking for a way to make their admiration of Alvernia tangible, the Laws began investigating planned giving options. They chose to purchase a Charitable Gift Annuity which pays them guaranteed income for life, a portion of which is tax-free. According to Dr. Law, "Gloria and I decided on the gift annuity because we can do something for the school while we benefit, year after year, as well. There is a mutual benefit. We appreciate Alvernia so much, and we are in a position to make this kind of gift as an expression of our gratitude."

In retrospect, how do the Laws feel about their decision about the Charitable Gift Annuity? "We love it!" he says. In fact, the ability to secure the University's future through a planned gift while receiving yearly income has resonated with the couple, especially with Gloria. In fact, less than six months after they purchased the first annuity, Dr. Law approached the University about purchasing a second one as a surprise birthday gift for his wife.

When it was mentioned that annuities are not your typical birthday gift, Dr. Law responded, "Gloria appreciated the first one, and she was pleased to see our names on the St. Clare Society print that Alvernia presented us when we made our planned gift. Her delight with the first annuity will be redoubled with the second, so it serves as the perfect birthday gift."

A gift that benefits both the donor and Alvernia? That's the beauty of a Charitable Gift Annuity. It is just about "perfect."