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The SAS 1963 Society: Donor Feature

Meet Jennifer (Jenn) Hicks, SAS 1963 Society Member and Major SAS Donor!

For Jennifer Hicks, giving to organizations she believes in comes naturally. Coming from a family with a strong background in philanthropy, she was taught early on to support programs that make a difference in the world. To Jenn, Semester at Sea makes such a difference, she believes its mission is essential to the entire world. “College-aged kids going on Semester at Sea to experience the world and see different cultures is essential to this planet,” Jenn said. “The world is so much smaller than we think, and Semester at Sea helps people understand differences and broaden horizons.” 

Jenn, who first sailed on a 1991 voyage as a student, later worked in the SAS/University of Colorado Boulder offices as an admissions representative in the mid-to-late 1990s, served in several capacities on SAS alumni advisory boards, gathered with other alumni at countless alumni events, and now supports Semester at Sea with several ongoing funds. She keeps the program close to her heart – and her ongoing financial commitment continues to make a difference for the next generation of SAS voyagers. 

As a member of SAS’s 1963 Society, Jenn has committed to Semester at Sea through the “Jennifer Hicks Field Programs Scholarship” and the “Jennifer Hicks ‘Almost There’ Endowed Scholarship.” Jenn’s financial support in large gifts predates the early 2000s, with several past donations being used to support logistical and ship needs over the years. In recent years, her funds have expanded to serve even more specific purposes, consequently impacting specific groups of upcoming voyagers. The first fund, “The Jennifer Hicks Field Programs Scholarship,” supports students who might need extra financial support to fully experience in-port experiences. “So many kids did everything they could just to get on the ship, and they might not have any extra funding to fully see and do things such as go on the safaris or field programs when they get to ports. The Field Programs Scholarship supports these students so that they can do more when they visit ports.” Jenn said. “These kids have worked so hard just to get there, and I want them to really be able to experience and enjoy their time off the ship as well.” 

The second fund – the “‘Almost There’ Endowed Scholarship” – supports students under a similar premise: helping those students who have pulled together enough funds to “almost” get on a voyage but who still need an extra boost to get there. “I wanted to help the students who did everything they could to get on a voyage and who were ‘almost there’ with the money they needed to go on their voyage,” Jenn shared. In these ways, Jenn supports students who might not otherwise be able to do as much while in port – or might not otherwise have made it on the ship without this final infusion of resources. 

Jenn is also a long-time member of Semester at Sea’s 1963 Society – an honorary association established in appreciation of those alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends who have included Semester at Sea in their estate plans through a bequest or a beneficiary designation on retirement assets, insurance, or bank accounts. “Coming from a family with a strong philanthropic background, I recognize the importance of creating legacy and image to help in fundraising and financial backing,” Jenn said. “Pledging through my estate implies my belief in the program, and my concern for the future reputation.”

Beyond her continued and future giving to the program, Jenn remains involved with the program in many other ways, including continued visits to current voyages. In fact, her nephew will join Semester at Sea as a student voyager for the Fall 2024 Voyage, and Jenn already has plans to meet up with her nephew for the planned parent trip in South Africa. For Jenn, Semester at Sea, and her ongoing financial commitments to the program, are a lifelong connection. “Semester at Sea is always with me,” she said. 

To learn more about The 1963 Society or to discuss your estate plan options, please contact the Planned Giving Team at

  • Alumni
  • Finances & Budgeting

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