‘Childhood playground’ transformed into family legacy

The moment Charliss Russ lost her father in January 2013, it crystallized for her the urgency of doing something she had set out to do some time ago.

“I always had in the back of my mind what I would set aside financially and where it was going to go,” Charliss says.russ

Contemplating her own future, Charliss says there were several places she had considered leaving her own estate. Then it occurred to her that she might meet the greatest needs by looking no further than her own former backyard.

“UALR was my childhood playground,” says Charliss, explaining that her childhood home was located at 29th and Taylor streets, near the UALR campus.

Eventually, UALR represented not just a “playground,” but a place for learning. Professors at what was then called Little Rock Junior College taught the nursing students at St. Vincent Infirmary.

“My mother was a nursing student at the St. Vincent Infirmary School of Nursing, Class of 1951,” Charliss says.

And Charliss herself became a firstgeneration, nontraditional student who worked her way through an undergraduate and graduate degree while simultaneously working at St. Vincent.

She says she wanted to honor her parents’ memory and also the valuable education she received at UALR.

Leaving the entirety of her estate to the university, she has endowed no fewer than six scholarships (two named for her father, two for her mother, and two in her own name).

With an endowment of $15,000 each, the first scholarships will be awarded in fall semester 2015. The newly endowed scholarships are:

The Francis Alan “Pete” Russ Greatest Need Endowment for the benefit of management
The Francis Alan “Pete” Russ Management Scholarship
Hazel Kriegbaum Russ Greatest Need Endowment for the benefit of nursing
Hazel Kriegbaum Russ Nursing Scholarship
Charliss Russ Greatest Need Endowment for the benefit of marketing and advertising
Charliss Russ Marketing and Advertising Scholarship
“Before she passed away, I talked it over with Mom, and she was so pleased,” Charliss says. “I knew I had made the right decision to honor my parents with a variety of scholarships, each reflecting their lives and their passion.”

The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.

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