Ed Gristing ’65

Changing the Face of the Future

Ed Gristing ’65 is a man of contrasts. He hasn’t been back on campus in more than 20 years, yet he’s keenly interested in the College and its future. He has not kept in touch with many classmates, yet he’s looking forward to his 50th reunion. He has been a modest donor, yet he recently established a major bequest to Hartwick College.

Ed and his husband, Frank Miles, are retired and living in Santa Rosa, CA, in the heart of the Wine Country. The couple was doing a periodic review of their estate plans last spring when a communication from the College sparked a new idea: What about Hartwick? After much consideration of the options available, he chose to endow the Edward Gristing ’65 J Term Scholarship at Hartwick College. (If Ed predeceases his partner, Frank and the College will be equal beneficiaries; if Frank predeceases him, the College will be Ed’s major beneficiary. “If our financial planner does his job well, it should be a substantial amount,” Ed surmises.)

“At first I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Ed says of structuring his estate gift to Hartwick. A business and economics double major, he seriously considered endowing a full tuition scholarship for a business student. “My Hartwick education prepared me for a career that worked out quite well,” he says of his profession in insurance claims management. But when he reflected on the educational benefits of travel, a new plan took shape.

“My father was an immigrant from Switzerland,” Ed recalls, “and I studied there for a year. That started my travel bug and that’s why I’m getting involved by creating a J Term scholarship.”

Ed and Frank are traveling extensively in retirement, most recently to the “fascinating area” of the Black Sea and before that Cambodia and Vietnam.  They have also explored China, Russia, and South America.

“Everyone should have a broad view of the world,” Ed says. “It’s so important to have those experiences and to understand that people everywhere have good ideas.” He is glad for this opportunity to be a part of global change at Hartwick. “When I was there Hartwick was more of a regional college that offered a good education,” he says. “I’m impressed by how much more sophisticated and nationally known it has become.”

Ed attended Hartwick in the early 1960s, a time that brought “the beginnings of social change.” He remembers the risks that others around the country took in being openly gay and says, “You make important choices based on that.” His major gift to Hartwick supports important change – when awarding the J Term scholarship, preference will be given to “A lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) or straight student who works to help our community,” he explains. “We want to be inclusive, not restrictive.” (The Edward Gristing ’65 J Term Scholarship fund represents the first such endowed designation in the College’s history.)

Endowing this J Term scholarship at Hartwick has given Ed an opportunity to affect the future and to support deserving students for generations. “When you create an endowment, you continue to have some control over your money after you die,” he explains. “This scholarship should guarantee that our money will continue to do good in the world.”


(Endowed scholarships for tuition and J Term experiences are the number one priority in The Campaign for Hartwick Students: It’s Personal. To learn how you can create a legacy for Hartwick students, contact Pat Dopazo, Director of Planned Philanthropy, at 607-431-4020 or dopazop@hartwick.edu.)

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