A legacy gift is a very personal choice. Here, some of our legacy donors share their reasons for leaving a gift in their Will to Lucy Cavendish College.
An American legacy
‘Your letter of May 5, 1993 has touched me deeply. The supportive environment you have created for women enables them to reach their full potential, and Mai-mai Sze and I were delighted that we found through you and Lucy Cavendish that special place.’ A letter from Irene Sharaff to Dame Anne Warburton, 27 May, 1993.
Irene Sharaff and her partner Mai-mai Sze left an extraordinary legacy to Lucy Cavendish College.
Based in New York, Irene Sharaff was an Ocsar-winning costume designer, whose credits include West Side Story and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Mai-mai Sze was a talented writer, artist and lecturer. Both women held a deep belief in the continuing advancement of educated women and, inspired by the work of our College outlined in a New York Times article in 1985, they began to correspond with our College President.
This correspondence eventually led to a generous legacy, which funded the build of our Music Pavilion, completed in 1995. It also led to the creation of two Research Fellowships; the Alice Tong Sze Fellowship for the humanities and the Lu Gwei-Djen Fellowship for the sciences.
Sadly, Irene and Mai-mai never visited Lucy Cavendish College during their lifetime. However, their headstones now lay beside the Pavilion, in a peaceful, sunny corner of the gardens.
‘Mai-mai and Irene were eternally curious – they treasured bits of knowledge of different cultures, of language, of styles and design, and of literature.’ Remarks of Jean Angell, made at the dedication of the Pavilion, June 1994.
I was lucky enough to matriculate at Lucy Cavendish when I was 61 years old. All my life I knew I could succeed at University and when I received the offer of a place at Cambridge all my dreams had come true. I obtained a 2:1 in English and graduated at 64 years old. I am now doing an MA. And after that, who knows?
After a long career in publishing (and a slightly shorter one in nursing) my life has entirely changed in recent years. I owe it all to Lucy Cavendish. So what could be better than to think of leaving a legacy to the College?
It’s very easy to do and there are several ways in which you can leave a legacy in your Will. I have left my house to the College to do with as it wishes. I have no dependents and fully intend to make provision for my friends but leaving a substantial sum to my College forges a permanent link with it for me and makes me glad that I can help to provide care and support for new students to the College in the coming years.
I benefited hugely from the Student Support Fund while I was a student here and it’s only right that I should make good this support. Being at Lucy Cavendish is a special experience - even amongst the many special experiences at Cambridge - and I am very happy to know that I am contributing towards that special experience for other students. It’s a good feeling.
MML/History of Art, 1980
Having spent three of the most formative, enriching and enjoyable years of my life at Lucy Cavendish, at a time when a university education was entirely free, it feels right that I should give something back.
I am also well aware that being a relatively recent charitable foundation the College does not enjoy the benefit of ancient endowment and that all legacies are regarded (to quote from the College legacy brochure) 'as precious gifts which leave a mark on the College'.
While I was a student the college provided a really friendly and supportive environment, and since then it has encouraged me as an alumna to be part of college life, extending regular invitations to talks and events. It is a pleasure to donate a legacy that, in some small way, will enable others in years to come to benefit as I did from all that the College can offer.