John Stewart

Grateful Alumnus Supports Alderman Library with Gift Annuity

John M. Stewart (College ’65)

John M. Stewart (College ’65) could have attended Lafayette College on a football scholarship. But in his senior year at The Hun School of Princeton, New Jersey, he asked to borrow his French instructor’s car so he could visit his girlfriend at Duke University. The instructor agreed to drive him as far as Charlottesville on the condition that he interview at the University of Virginia, which he did. U.Va. offered him admission and Coach Bill Ellias offered him a scholarship to play football.

“I ended up taking the offer at Virginia and never looked back,” Mr. Stewart said. “It was a delightful experience.”

To help with the cost of tuition, Mr. Stewart worked a variety of summer jobs, including loading trucks, in New York City. Between his second and third years, he talked his way into an entry-level job in the personal trust department of Banker’s Trust Co., which led him to a career in wealth management for high-net-worth individuals that spanned four decades.

Mr. Stewart firmly believes that the values taught at the University had a positive effect on his career. “A trust officer is nothing if he’s not trustworthy, and my experience at U.Va. under the Honor System was very valuable in keeping my ethics high during my business career,” he said.

In 1983, Mr. Stewart’s career took him to Florida, where he met C. Waller Barrett (College ’20). He learned that Mr. Barrett was giving his extensive collection of American literature to the University’s special collections library and recalled with gratitude the many hours he spent studying in the library’s rare books room as an undergraduate. Mr. Stewart credits Mr. Barrett with inspiring him to designate the Alderman Library, as well as the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, as the remainder beneficiaries of the deferred charitable gift annuity he established several years later.

“One day a little extra piece of compensation showed up that I didn’t need for living expenses, so I decided to do a deferred gift annuity and put that money to the University,” said Mr. Stewart. “I became a member of the Cornerstone Society. And then the unthinkable happened; I turned 65 and began to get checks.”

A lover of wines from the Burgundy region of France, Mr. Stewart celebrated his first income payment from the annuity in the fall of 2008, with a steak dinner with friends at Charlottesville’s Downtown Grille—and a very nice bottle of Chambolle Musigny.