Giving Generously, Giving Gladly

October 10, 2012

It is no surprise to see Anna Kate Reid Hipp ’63 listed among the dynamic leaders of  Mary Baldwin’s current fundraising effort. In the 1970s, she served in a top role for the New Directions Capital Campaign. She was national co-chair of the 1992 Sesquicentennial Campaign. Just a few years ago, she became a member of the college’s National Leadership Gifts Council.

Hipp is just as eager to rally donors this time around as she was 40 years ago.

“The Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is the big, sustaining change that the college needs right now,” she said from Greenville, South Carolina, where she has established herself as a civic leader and philanthropist.

The Arkansas native came to Mary Baldwin with plans to transfer to an in-state university after her freshman year — as did most of her peers at the time. Hipp’s course changed quickly when she made close friends, enjoyed her classes … and met her future husband. She stayed. And she became one of the college’s most dedicated supporters — a legacy highlighted by becoming the first alumna and first woman to chair the Board of Trustees — during her nearly 25 years of service.

What’s unique about generous gifts from Hipp and her husband, Hayne, over the past five decades is that they have rarely been designated for specific projects or programs. By keeping close counsel with college leaders, she repeatedly demonstrates confidence in their ability to know where funds will be most effective. The Hipp Innovation Fund, created in 2007 to support college-wide efforts to increase enrollment, is a prime example of how she finds exactly what Mary Baldwin needs at the time. In turn, fundraisers know that they can count on Hipp’s contributions to the Baldwin Fund and on her support for the popular Doenges Visiting Artist/Scholar program, established in memory of her former classmate, Elizabeth “Liddy” Kirkpatrick Doenges.

“I have to admit that I’m a little selfish: I want to see things happen in my lifetime,” said Hipp, explaining that her philanthropy is focused on directing funds “right into the bloodstream of the institution.”

As she prepares to celebrate her 50th Reunion in 2013, Hipp recognizes that the educational needs and opportunities for women have changed dramatically since her college years. While some women’s colleges have been reluctant to change — and paid the price by closing their doors or becoming co-ed schools — Mary Baldwin has adapted accordingly, reimagining itself without losing the core undergraduate women’s program, she said.

“My favorite cause is Mary Baldwin University,” she said. “I have been involved in her life for so long. I give generously, give gladly, give for the pleasure of giving, and I give because it does make a difference.”