Great friends and happy givers

Pamela and Ray Deters visiting the Anchor Bar in Buffalo.

“We want to support UB,” Deters says. “We think they’ve done fabulous things for the community, especially the city. We want to do our giving where it has the most impact for the buck. And the law school is very important to UB. They’ve got a great, great reputation.”

Ray Deters has done a lot of things. He bought and sold real estate. He owned a large corporate travel agency. He owned stores selling luggage and leather goods. Now, with all that behind him, he and his wife, Pamela, run a Christmas tree farm in western North Carolina. Every December they ship a couple thousand trees to Tampa, Fla., and sell them there.

“I’m a Christmas nut,” he says cheerfully. “And you’d be surprised at the number of attorneys I get on that tree lot who buy trees from me.”

But there are capital gains taxes to pay on those profits, and so every two or three years, the Deterses look for a way to help the University at Buffalo, where he was a history major as an undergraduate. They’ve given to the history department; they’ve given to the athletics program. This time, they chose the UB School of Law as the beneficiary of their donation.

“We want to support UB,” Deters says. “We think they’ve done fabulous things for the community, especially the city. We want to do our giving where it has the most impact for the buck. And the law school is very important to UB. They’ve got a great, great reputation.”

It’s not often that the UB School of Law receives gifts of this size from non-alums, but Deters says, “I’ve always had an awful lot of interest in the law.” There are lawyers in the family; he has attorney friends; and “I’ve often thought if I were doing it all over again, I would have become a lawyer. I think it would have helped me in business.”

It helped, too, that UB’s development officers, including the law school’s Loraine Yates, are “just absolutely the nicest people, and that’s part of it,” he says. “It’s real easy to do business with somebody who’s so appreciative.

“I’ll probably be doing this stuff until I’m 95.”