Matt (’76 J.D.) and Eleanor Andersen

Matt and Eleanor Andersen

Matt and Eleanor Andersen

“We didn’t have any money,” said Matt Andersen (’76) as he recalled the days before coming to Gonzaga Law School. But a lack of money didn’t stop him from earning his J.D. in 1976, and graduating without debt.

“We saved up our pennies between undergrad and law school,” admitted Matt, “and Eleanor worked while I was in school. It had always been my dream to go to law school and doing it without debt was our goal. As an undergraduate, I was the beneficiary of scholarships, so I recognized the need and the value.”

Now, Matt and his wife Eleanor are taking what they gained from Matt’s Gonzaga experience and paying it forward with a charitable gift annuity in support of the Law School Scholarship.

The Andersens are committed to creating opportunities for others. Eleanor has had a long career in the non-profit sector, volunteering with many organizations, and Matt feels strongly that the idealism and passion for public service his classmates had in the 1970s is still alive and well.

“It was a different time back then,” said Matt, “when everybody had been in the service or working and they were coming back to school as part of a life change. We wanted to give back to our communities — and still do - at whatever level we can.”

Matt and Eleanor have been regular contributors to Gonzaga’s annual fund. As they prepared for retirement and formalized their estate plans, ensuring Gonzaga’s School of Law was part of it was important to them.

“Gonzaga formed me as a professional,” Matt said. “I am thankful for the opportunity it gave me and continues to give others.”

Working in tandem with Gonzaga’s Office of Planned Giving and the School of Law, the Andersens sought out the best fit for their intentions and means. They decided on a charitable gift annuity (CGA), which provides them with quarterly income for life, and then what remains in the annuity will provide scholarships for law students.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Eleanor. “We were surprised to learn how any amount can make a difference for scholarships. We feel like we are doing something substantial.”