“Maintaining a Link to the College”
Almost 30 years since he graduated, Todd Richter ’79 maintains strong ties to his alma mater. It’s a relationship that he attributes to his time on the William & Mary golf team and on the links. Earlier this year, Richter demonstrated his appreciation for his William & Mary experience with an estate commitment presently valued at more than $5 million, which will endow the men’s and women’s golf programs in perpetuity.
Like all of the College’s athletic programs, men’s and women’s golf receives no state money, and the endowment will provide in perpetuity for such specific needs as coaches’ salaries, scholarships for student-athletes and funds for each program’s operating budget. “This gift is an extraordinary commitment from a former student-athlete who fully appreciates the life-influencing experience that participation in intercollegiate athletics at the College of William & Mary can provide for our student-athletes,” says Director of Athletics Terry Driscoll. “The gift will insure the William & Mary Golf program will continue to provide a tremendous competitive golf opportunity for our future student-athletes.”
Richter himself is grateful for his experiences competing for legendary coach Joe Agee ’52, M.Ed. ’56, an emeritus professor of kinesiology and Marine colonel who taught at William & Mary for many years. “I attribute a lot of my business career success to the discipline I developed as a student and as a golfer at William & Mary,” he says. “Joe had — and still has — an enormous influence on my life, as does golf in general.” According to Richter, the competitive edge realized through golf can be particularly important for young people, especially business majors. “Being successful in business requires that you be an effective competitor,” he says. “Being able to focus under pressure, or, as Coach Agee used to tell us, to ‘set your priorities,’ is key. Athletics helps you hone your competitive instincts beyond just the intellectual experiences you get in the classroom.”
Returning to campus almost every year since he graduated, Richter likes to meet current students and engage them both in the classroom and on the golf course. Likewise, many students visit him in New York, exploring careers in finance and banking. Richter hopes that his commitment, as well as commitments from other members of the golf team, will give students the kind of experiences he had in school, allowing them to be successful after graduation. “At William & Mary, there is the clear understanding that golf and all other athletic programs are college sports,” he explains. “All students go to the College to get a world-class education; we’re all there because it’s a world-class academic institution. Those who are fortunate enough to participate in an athletic program learn very quickly that it is a very special place to be a student-athlete.”