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The arts have always been a huge part of Laura Young Palmer’s life.

Her father, an engineer and pilot instructor in World War II, was an amateur musician who toured Europe in 1937 with his dance band before the war. The music bug rubbed off on Palmer, who attended high school for three years in Paris and was part of a choir that sang all over Europe.

“It was just a magnificent opportunity to see the world and also get interested in the arts,” Palmer said.

After moving back to the U.S., she decided to attend Auburn University, where she continued her foray into the arts as a member of the Chamber Choir. She was also president of both Mortar Board, the senior honor society, and her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

After graduating in 1970 with a degree in foreign languages, Palmer never envisioned a long and successful career in banking and financial planning. But that’s exactly where her liberal arts education took her. She retired in 2009 after more than 30 years with SunTrust (now Truist), rising from an administrative support position to ultimately retiring as a senior vice president in the Private Wealth Management Division.

That experience helped shape her views on philanthropy. Because she had carved out a niche in trust and estate work, she saw how people from many levels of wealth were able to secure their futures while also giving back to worthy causes through current and planned gifts.

As a dedicated patron and supporter of the Gogue Performing Arts Center since its opening in 2019, Palmer has generously included a future gift to the Gogue Center through her Individual Retirement Account (IRA) in addition to her current support of the arts.

This allows the Gogue Center to plan ahead knowing that vital resources will be there in the future. And for Palmer, it’s a win-win. She gets to support and enjoy the many talented artists performing at the Gogue Center by giving from her IRA account.

“My IRA is pre-tax money, so the minute I pull money out, there will be tax ramifications unless it is used for charitable purposes,” she said. “It just makes sense to plan my current and future gifts through my IRA so they can go tax-free to Auburn.”

Palmer encourages others to consider how they can support areas that are important to them through planned gifts from their financial and retirement assets.

“At some point in your life, I think you realize that more things are not going to make you any happier,” she said. “If you’re inclined to create a legacy or leave a future gift to help an organization that means something to you, do some thinking about it.”

For more information about making a planned gift, contact or 334-844-7375.