My Giving Story: Rick Tigner

As part of our regular posts, we will be featuring “My Giving Stories” that center around short Q&As with donors who have included Duke in their long-term plans.

We recently chatted with Rick Tigner ’70, an investment advisor, art collector, and Duke Alumni Band member. He directed funds from his IRA to an endowment fund that benefits the Nasher Museum of Art.

Here’s what he had to say:

Why is your Duke connection important to you?

Duke has had such a great influence on my career and my life. It wasn’t just about the classes, but also about the people I met—students, faculty, and administrators. I learned so much from them.

Plus, I was at Duke during a very tumultuous time in the 60s. The university was a center of social activism. This influenced my social awareness and empathy for others. Duke helped create the person I am today.

What inspired you to make your gift to the Nasher Museum?

As a freshman, I saw Martha Graham and her dance company perform at Page Auditorium. I had never seen human bodies move like that. The performance stimulated a deeper interest in cultural things.

From then on, I took advantage of the arts programming Duke had to offer at the time. Over the years, I became an art collector and traveled around the world.

In 2008, I participated in a Duke Alumni Association trip to Los Angeles called “Nasher Travels.” That did it for me! The people I traveled with from the Nasher Museum were so talented and well-connected in the arts world. I thought “look what’s happening at Duke today.”

Although the Nasher did not exist when I was at Duke, I realized what a significant addition it was to campus now. I wanted to do something that would be a legacy there.

What are your long-term hopes for the Nasher?

My long-term hope is that the Nasher continues to bring in the best of travelling exhibitions as well as creating ground-breaking, locally curated exhibits like The Record (an exhibition that explores the culture of vinyl records within the history of contemporary art) and Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey (a presentation of more than 50 works from the internationally renowned artist) which then travel to other museums.
With my gift, I hope to introduce students to art they have never seen, and that Duke continues to be a resource to inspire students the way the Martha Graham dance performance inspired me.

What’s your inspiration?

Our charitable planning team can help you honor the memories, people, and places that matter to you. Contact us to share yours.

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Gift Planning

Duke University’s Office of Gift Planning specializes in charitable gift planning for estates, charitable trusts and annuities, and other complex current and future gift plans.

For more information, please contact the Duke University Office of Gift Planning at 919-681-0464 or