W. Gary Ogburn ’82 practices what he preaches. After spending the last 13 years working in estate planning in San Francisco — first as planned giving director at the American Red Cross and then as director of gift planning at California Pacific Medical Center Foundation— he knows the impact of planned giving. So it’s not surprising that he made arrangements two years ago to have his IRA ultimately benefit organizations he cares about, including UNC School of Law, his alma mater. Ogburn’s gift will be directed to the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library where he held a part-time job during law school.
“Gary Ogburn’s gift will help the law library be nimble and innovative as we look forward to a future of rapidly evolving information technologies that will shape legal research and management of legal information,” says Anne Klinefelter, associate professor of law and director of the law library. “More and more, the law library is a source of services as well as collection resources, and Mr. Obgurn’s gift will help the library stay strong in both.”
“Using an IRA or deferred pension plan can allow people to benefit a charity that they really support and do so in a tax-efficient manner,” says Ogburn. “I would not have achieved what I have in my life without my law degree, and I owe that to Chapel Hill.”
Ogburn’s achievements include working for 15 years as an attorney in the private banking divisions of J.P. Morgan, HSBC and Citibank in New York City and San Francisco. After graduating from Carolina Law in 1982, he started at J.P. Morgan, where he worked with the bank’s trust and estate clients and high net worth individuals on estate planning issues. Ogburn ended his private banking career as the president of a west coast affiliate of Citibank.
Growing up in Winston-Salem, N.C., as the oldest of six children in his family, Ogburn planned to be a teacher. After receiving a magna cum laude degree in history from Appalachian State University, Ogburn spent nine years in education, first as a world history and political science teacher at Lenoir Senior High School and then on the administrative side of higher education at Forsyth Technical Institute. While working full time, he attended UNC Greensboro in the evenings to earn a master’s in education.
“Ultimately, I got to the point where I knew I needed a doctorate,” he says. After looking into Ph.D. programs, he decided that a J.D. degree would be a better choice; he hoped to return to Winston-Salem after graduation and serve as general counsel for a school system.
“I looked at a law degree as the ultimate liberal arts degree, offering a way to think, in addition to providing skills in research and data analysis, which are inherent in the study of law,” he says. “I took courses in corporate law because I wanted broad exposure and fell in love with business.” That love led him on a career journey different than he had planned, but one that he has relished.
After his recent retirement, he is ready to embark on new journeys. “I have traveled a lot in my working life but never to Southeast Asia, so this spring I’ll be there for three weeks,” he says. “My long term-travel plans are that twice a year, for a 30-day period each, I will go somewhere and rent a condo.”
Ogburn remains grateful for the opportunities afforded him by his degree from Carolina. “I am a loyal donor to the law school because I want others to have the same experiences that I had,” he says. “I know the impact of planned gifts and think that donors who give annual gifts to an organization they care about can best express their appreciation by also including a planned gift of whatever size or source.”
Read more about this gift in the Spring-Summer 2013 issue of