New Office of Gift Planning Helps Donors Create a Legacy at Seton Hill

Seton Hill University’s newly-created Office of Gift Planning, led by the inaugural Director of Gift Planning, Cecilia Hughes, is ready to assist donors who are interested in creating a gift through their estate planning. 

Cecilia is a certified paralegal who has worked at law firms around the Pittsburgh region in estate planning and administration. She has more than 17 years of direct experience in higher education gift planning and administration and is knowledgeable about the many vehicles and assets that can be used to fund these types of gifts. 

Cecilia keeps abreast of current tax laws and how they can impact planned giving, and she looks forward to meeting with alumni and friends who have an interest in creating a legacy gift for Seton Hill. 

In the Q&A below, Cecilia answers some commonly asked questions about planned giving. 

What is Gift Planning?

Gift Planning (also referred to as planned giving or legacy giving) is the integration of personal, financial, and estate planning goals with a person's goals for lifetime or testamentary charitable giving. It enables philanthropic individuals to make more significant gifts to charitable organizations than they could make from ordinary income. The right plan balances what you wish to accomplish for yourself, your family, and your charitable interests in your overall estate and financial plans. It also helps sustain the University and our students for years to come.

Some examples of planned gifts include:

  • A bequest in your will
  • A beneficiary designation on a retirement account or life insurance policy
  • Charitable gift annuities funded with cash or appreciated stock
  • Charitable rollover from an individual retirement account
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Distributions from donor advised funds

Why has Seton Hill University established an Office of Gift Planning?

Seton Hill created the Office of Gift Planning to serve as a central resource for alumni, donors and friends of the University. If you have questions about establishing a planned gift or want to know more about what assets might be used to fund a planned gift or how a particular gift vehicle can be used, our office can assist in educating you about your options, which you can take to your financial advisor to see what is the best fit for your personal circumstances. The Office also serves as a resource for Institutional Advancement staff who may not have a background in these types of gifts.

Why does Seton Hill want to know if I have a planned gift in place for the University?

Documenting your planned gift is a simple process and ensures that your gifts are used in the way in which you intended them to be used. Although you may have discussed your planned gift with a current staff member at Seton Hill, if that gift is not recorded in our files and the staff member retires before your gift comes to fruition we have no way to ensure your gift is used as you wish. When we are aware of your intention to make a planned gift, it allows us to thank you personally for your generosity and the impact your future gift will have on the University and our students. Recording your intended donation also allows us to count your gift in our fundraising totals.

For more information on gift planning at Seton Hill, please contact Cecilia Hughes at 724-830-4636 or