Please welcome Russ Austin, associate vice chancellor for planned giving. Russ brings a wealth of gift planning expertise and experience to his new role, most recently serving as Associate Vice President for Gift Planning at the University of Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. He joined University Advancement in March, succeeding Mark Weinrich, who retired in April after 17 years with Washington University.
Please share a little about yourself.
My family and I are excited to call St. Louis our home. My wife, Lexy, and I met at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, where she was an athletic trainer and I played basketball. UW-Stevens Point is a Division III school like WashU. Joining us in our move are our two sons, Maclain (16) and Griff (14). Our family is thrilled to a part of the WashU and St. Louis communities!
What are you looking forward to in your new role?
I am most looking forward to meeting and working with alumni, donors, friends, faculty, and staff. I have been fortunate in my career to meet many wonderful people over the years. I also am looking forward to exploring campus and the many wonderful schools and programs at WashU.
What are some of the highlights of working in planned giving?
I have had so many wonderful moments during my career in planned giving. I thoroughly enjoy helping someone think through the legacy they wish to leave and what planned giving vehicle to use to accomplish their vision.
How can donors support WashU during these uncertain times?
While this pandemic has certainly changed how we live and work, our staff continues to have wonderful discussions with alumni and friends. For those inclined to support the university, planned giving can provide a variety of tax-friendly and deferred options during challenging economic times.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I like to spend time with family and friends, and enjoy my wife’s family’s house on the Lake of the Ozarks. Lexy’s family has been driving down from Madison, Wisconsin, to the lake for over 50 years! Instead of taking eight and a half hours to drive to the lake, my family can now enjoy a much shorter drive from St. Louis.