Devoted to Students

Grant Esterling ’51, ’54 LL.B. and his wife, Toni

Throughout a long life and international career, Grant Esterling ’51, ’54 LL.B., who died in 2016, held fast to his love for Yale. Starting as an Alumni Fund class agent following graduation, Grant stayed involved through his sixty-fifth Yale College reunion, with the support of his wife, Elizabeth “Toni” Esterling, and his two daughters, Lee Esterling Stewart ’81 and Sarah Esterling ’83.

He served terms as chair of the Alumni Fund, director of the Yale Club of Washington, D.C., and president of the Yale Club of Paris. After retiring from IBM in 1990, he lent his energy to seven consecutive reunion gift committees for the Yale College class of 1951 and co-chaired four of them, including its record-breaking fiftieth reunion. Grant also organized mini-reunions and established the Class of 1951’s Memorial Scholarship and the 1951 America Reads program. He was recognized with the Yale Medal in 2003. Today, his legacy lives on through the planned gifts he and his wife created during his lifetime, all supporting student scholarships.

“Grant was passionate about supporting financial aid at Yale,” Toni says. “His time there was so precious, and he was overjoyed to share that experience with younger generations.” Toni herself is a stalwart supporter of Yale and has been such a fixture at reunions and events that the men of ’51 named her an honorary member of their class.

Grant recognized that charitable gift annuities enabled Toni and him to receive income in retirement while also contributing to his class reunion gift efforts. “When we learned about the value of the life income gifts,” Toni says, “we knew that a planned gift was our best option. We first made gifts through pooled income funds and charitable gift annuities, and we entrusted our charitable remainder trust to Yale, creating an income stream that benefits me today.”