Heart, Mind and Soul: Giving Back to New College is Rebecca Stork’s Constant Commitment

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- by Su Byron

But Stork also focuses on philanthropy—a passion many folks save until after they have retired. She gives a lot, especially to New College. That’s not easy in today’s world. What got her started? It began in Indiana. Stork had graduated from high school and was deciding where to apply to college. In- state education was obviously always an option. But New College of Florida topped her list. Her brother had gone there and told her about his experience.

Stork liked what she heard. “I liked the small classes,” Stork said. “I knew I’d be lost in a big state school.” She also liked the contract system, which didn’t punish educational risk taking and independent thinking. Those qualities drew Stork to New College. She applied and was accepted. A generous scholarship made it even more possible. “The scholarship I received actually made New College cheaper for me than an Indiana state college,” she said. “That made the decision easy. ‘Study in Indiana under two feet of snow or go to Florida? Hmm…’ My scholarship made the question a no- brainer.”

Stork’s New College experience was rewarding on many levels. Aesthetically, she was enthralled by the unique architecture on campus and the beauty of the subtropical region. Personally, she made many lifelong friends across a range of backgrounds. Intellectually, she sharpened her critical-thinking skills. “I didn’t understand how vital that was until my first year at law school,” she said. “Nearly every exam had an essay requirement. The other students struggled; they’d had nothing but multiple choice and fill-in-the- blank questions on their undergraduate exams. I did extremely well, because essays and critical thinking were baked into my New College studies.”

Lifelong friendships. An experience of Florida’s natural splendor. The power of critical thinking. Stork thanks her scholarship for launching the possibilities. She wanted to help make that possible for future New College students. She began giving back as soon as she could. Stork set up a gift agreement, which established automatic credit card payments to New College every month. Of her total monthly gift, a portion is dedicated to general scholarships, while another portion goes to the College’s unrestricted annual fund.

“New College holds a special place in my heart, mind and soul,” Stork said. “It helped me as a law student, as a lawyer, and as a human being. It’s given me so much, and I give what I give because I can.” Even small gifts make a big impact, Stork said. “Signing up for $5 a month makes a world of difference. You can also give through promotion or volunteering,” Stork said. “Whatever form your gift takes, you’re really giving of yourself. That keeps your relationship with the school alive in the present, and makes that relationship a possibility for New College students in the future.”

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