Category Archives: Donors

Your Family Letter

Writing a letter to your family is an excellent way to provide key information to your family after your passing while sharing with them a personal message of love and wisdom. Learn how to create your family letter as part of the estate planning process.

Please visit our website at mtulegacy.org for free estate planning tools.  

Email giftplan@mtu.edu to request our new brochure, Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform.

 

 


Did you know you can make a gift to Michigan Tech and receive fixed income for life?

A charitable gift annuity is a giving vehicle that allows you to enjoy tax benefits and an income stream in exchange for your gift of cash or appreciated assets. Learn more about life income gifts or use our gift planning calculator.

Please visit our website at mtulegacy.org for free estate planning tools. 

Email giftplan@mtu.edu to request our new brochure, Your Guide to Effective Giving After Tax Reform.


Health and Wealth: 10 Mistakes to Avoid

Street signs for Health and WealthStart with a plan for your health and wealth by exploring this roadmap provided by Northern Trust and their partner, Pinnacle Health.*

https://wealth.northerntrust.com/roadmap

With many tips on how to make good decisions when it comes to your health and wealth, experts also believe it’s important to point out common and avoidable health care and financial wealth mistakes.

Health Care Missteps
 1. Not having a plan – not preparing for age-related health issues
 2. Not knowing your or your family’s health history
 3. Not having swift access to key medical records
 4. Being passive or withholding questions during doctor visits
 5. Ignoring lifestyle factors proven to affect health, vitality and longevity (e.g., smoking,
     weight, exercise)
 6. Ignoring symptoms, therefore preventing early detection
 7. Allowing a busy professional life to prevent you from vital screenings (e.g., mammograms,
     colonoscopies)
 8. Getting only one opinion in the case of a serious diagnosis
 9. Traveling without medical preparation
10. Being unaware of rapidly changing medical advances

Financial Missteps
 1. Not having a financial plan until a crisis happens
 2. Not having (monitoring) a good credit history
 3. Not having a sufficient cash reserve
 4. Letting someone else “take care of the finances” without your review or awareness
 5. Inadequate, or inappropriate, health, life, disability, property and casualty insurance
 6. Living beyond your means
 7. Chasing the “hottest” investments
 8. Improper beneficiary designations on retirement plans and life insurance
 9. Not updating estate documents as life events occur
10. Not reviewing your income taxes annually

For more information on providing for your family and planning for your future, please visit our website at mtulegacy.org for free tools. 

Northern Trust manages the Michigan Tech Fund endowment and other investments and offers this information as an educational service. This article used with permission from Northern Trust.


Gifts of Appreciated Securities

For years, you have carefully invested and watched your savings grow. What took a lifetime to build can be instantly lost through capital gains tax when you sell. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than sell your stock, consider giving some of it to the Michigan Tech Fund. You won’t pay any taxes and you receive an income tax deduction for your gift.

Benefits to you:

AVOID capital gains taxes on the sale of your appreciated assets.

RECEIVE an income tax deduction for the full amount of your gift.

GIVE more this year without impacting your cash flow.

CAPTURE the value of your stock and end the worrying about market ups and downs.

PUT your gift to work right away for the Michigan Tech programs you care about most.

Gifting appreciated securities in place of cash may be a smart philanthropic and tax-wise alternative. You can learn more about giving stock to Michigan Tech


Bill Jackson ’58, Provided Lasting Impact to Michigan Tech

jackson-william-personnelMichigan Tech is mourning William “Bill” G. Jackson, who passed away peacefully on March 1 in Scottsdale Arizona. Jackson graduated from Michigan Tech in 1958 with a BS in Electrical Engineering. His generosity is a perfect example of the impact a single individual can have. Jackson made multiple transformational gifts that continue to make a lasting and dramatic positive impact on campus.

Jackson’s first gift to Tech was made in July of 1973. He and his wife, Gloria, continued supporting the University with numerous gifts over the years. These gifts supported departments and initiatives including the Annual Fund, the Class of ’58 Endowed Scholarship, the Industrial Archeology Program, and the Rozsa Center. The couple made their first major gift when they established the William and Gloria Jackson Endowed Scholarship in 1998. This provided scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in electrical engineering, with preference given to graduates of Calumet High School, which provided Jackson, who remembers his roots, with a start in life that he continued to value.

In 2006 Jackson was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Alumni Board of Director’s highest honor, for his professional achievements, for being a model of the entrepreneurial spirit, for being a champion of higher education, and for bringing distinction to Michigan Technological University.

And still Jackson continued giving. Another major gift, given with his late wife Gloria in 2007, established the William and Gloria Jackson Professorship Endowed Fund which focused on bridging information technology and entrepreneurship. The gift arose from Gloria’s strong belief in the power of endowments and Bill’s strong respect and appreciation of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The generous gift both established and provided recruiting funds for the endowed professorship now held by Dr. Timothy Havens, associate professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science and director of the Data Sciences graduate program and ICC Center for Data Sciences.

Dr. Havens says the William and Gloria Jackson position invaluable. “It provides funds for the Jackson Fellowship that I use to recruit exceptional graduate students. These students are able to work on higher risk/higher reward research, which is beneficial for both the student and also myself. Brian Flanagan, an accelerated master’s student, is the Jackson Fellow and is investigating how advanced data science can be used to predict maintenance in large fleets of vehicles.” This project has allowed Havens to build a new collaboration with Ford.

But Jackson wasn’t done yet. Another major gift, in spring 2013, made dramatic changes almost immediately and continues to support students and instructors. The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning, on the Van Pelt and Opie Library’s second floor, was constructed. It includes spaces and equipment for faculty training on new teaching methods and technologies including assessment, recorded lectures, and the Canvas learning management system. Though novelties at the time, all now enjoy widespread, effective use in Michigan Tech classes, and more than half of Michigan Tech instructors connect with the Jackson CTL annually for training and support.

In 2013, Jackson’s gift established a secure testing center that allowed local administration of the fundamentals of engineering and other commercial exams as well as support for accommodated exams. Demand for the use of this center has grown exponentially resulting in a summer 2016 expansion (also supported by the gift). In its first fall semester, about 70 exams were administered; today, it’s not uncommon for the center to give that number in a single day, with semester totals approaching 3,000.

Jackson’s gift helped to install lecture capture capabilities in 20 university classrooms, another trend that has continued to grow. (There are now 38.) During fall 2017, more than 5,000 hours of video was reviewed by students, with captures in over 100 different sections. The Jackson gift has provided much needed technology upgrades in several university classrooms, and fully supported the creation of the 60-seat Jackson Active Learning Center in the basement of Rekhi Hall which is tailored to the blended learning classroom model.

Jackson believed the most important impact were the opportunities his gifts created for people. In addition to providing initial full support of the testing center coordinator position, the gift has funded more than 20 blended learning and online curriculum development grants for instructors in almost all Michigan Tech departments. His gift provided the basis for an equipment loan program, and the impetus to begin a program that helps instructors learn how to teach online.

When Jackson visited campus in July 2014 to celebrate the opening of the Center that bore his name, Director Mike Meyer was especially struck by Bill’s humility, his desire to make a lasting difference, and his people focus.

“Bill brought two of his grandchildren along to the open house event,” Meyer says. “It was clear that his family was of paramount importance to him, and he wanted the kids to see the Center and understand his legacy. After a tour of both the CTL and the Testing Center his gift had created and a chance to visit with many of the instructors supported through grants, I tried to thank Jackson formally for his gift. Bill’s humble response? ‘It’s just great to have good people to put the money to work.’”

Bill and his family can rest assured Michigan Tech will continue to treasure his legacy. His transformational gifts will help students and instructors at Michigan Tech for many years to come.


Making an Impact. Creating the Future. Ron ’77 ’80 and Linda Staley

Ron and Linda Staley with their North American T-6 Advanced Trainer.
Ron and Linda Staley with their North American T-6 Advanced Trainer.

Helping to attract and develop the best educators for engineering management at Michigan Technological University is one of the reasons Ron and Linda Staley have made a recent gift to the School of Business and Economics.

The couple created the Staley Endowed Faculty Fellow for the continued growth of the new Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management degree.

“A single scholarship can make a major difference to a single student, allowing the financial means to achieve their college education,” Staley says. “However, that great professor who really helps you learn, who inspires you, whose knowledge sharing can turn into something special and be a path for your future career, that professor is the game changer to potentially hundreds of students. Linda and I appreciate those who make their career in educating our future leaders and want to help support those individuals at MTU.”

Staley says when classmate and Professor Dana Johnson and Dean Johnson, dean of the School of Business and Economics, shared their vision for the new degree program, he saw great potential for students.

To Staley, it is exactly the path Michigan Tech helped him create when he earned an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology in 1977 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1980.

“A degree in engineering management can be used in so many engineering fields that I wanted to support the program,” Staley says. “It’s that combination of technical knowledge and business acumen that I believe is so important to all engineers.”

Working on engines, old cars, and motorcycles led Staley to a career in engineering. He has worked for more than 30 years with The Christman Company where he specializes in historic preservation for monumental buildings. He serves as the Senior Vice President, Regional Manager for Southeast Michigan, and Executive Director of Historic Preservation.

Staley has worked on state capitols in Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia, President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington DC, the US Capitol Building, projects in Morocco, Poland, and most recently, to Cuba to work on Ernest Hemingway’s historic Finca Vigia. Other memorable work includes Henry Ford’s Fair Lane estate and multiple projects for the National Park Service in Calumet.

His time at Tech taught him to work hard and that helped define his life. “I had these great technical skills that allowed me to open doors for unique opportunities. But it was the business background that developed those opportunities into a career.”

Giving back to his alma mater that shaped his education and career is important to the couple.

“I’m not ready to retire anytime soon, but Linda and I talked extensively and while we’ve always planned that Michigan Tech would be in our estate planning, it was this new degree program that helped us really say ‘we can make a difference.’”

Dr. Dean Johnson, Dean of the School of Business and Economics, says gifts like the Staley’s are transformational for students and faculty.

“The School has been blessed through Ron and Linda’s contributions of their time and student scholarships,” Johnson says. “Today the Ron and Linda Staley Endowed Faculty Fellow position propel the School of Business and Economics forward in delivering the premier technology-infused experiential business education in the Midwest.”

Staley said he and Linda hope their endowment donation helps Michigan Tech’s engineering management program grow.

“Everyone has the opportunity to help the next generation coming through the great portals of MTU,” Staley says. “We are happy to be in a position which allows us to make this commitment.”

When Staley made his first gift to Michigan Tech in 1983, he sent his support to the School of Business and Economics, said Eric Halonen, Assistant Vice President for Advancement. “With that first gift, Staley showed he was supportive and appreciative of his Tech education,” he said. “Since then he has continued to grow and establish his giving, most recently with his and Linda’s generous estate planning gift.”

The Staley’s also support the School of Business and Economics with the establishment of a new engineering management scholarship for incoming students. This endowed scholarship will recognize an outstanding first-year student in the engineering management major.

Outside of the office, Staley enjoys adventure. He is a pilot and owns three airplanes: a WWII-era North American T-6 Advanced Trainer, a 1981 Russian Aero L-39 jet, and a Cessna 414. The couple enjoys traveling across the globe including trips to Thailand, Greece, Italy, Europe, and Mexico.

He and Linda live in Brighton, Michigan and have two married children and two grandchildren.  In 2017, Staley was inducted into the School’s Academy of Business and joined the Engineering and Supply Chain Management Industry Advisory Board.


Supporter. Donor. Michigan Tech Huskies Fan.

IMG_5414Jim Sarazin has donated every year for almost 40 years to Michigan Technological University and the last 20 of those years have been a member of the President Club.

He’s been a fitness member at the Student Development Center since the doors opened in 1979.

And, for nearly 40 years he and his wife Linda have been season ticket holders to Michigan Tech hockey games and are “avid Tech hockey fans.”

Supporting Michigan Tech in many ways is a part of Sarazin’s life.

His eyes were opened to giving and making an impact during a conversation with Professor Bert Whitten who was Sarazin’s biology teacher and advisor at Michigan Tech.

“He was starting a medical alumni scholarship and he asked me to donate,” Sarazin says.

Continue reading


Giving back. Supporting the community. Making a difference.

Gray07222013004Dick and Stasi Gray do that every day.

The couple, who both graduated from Michigan Tech in 1982, like to help Michigan Tech students by supporting scholarships and student activities and organizations.

“We like to give back,” Dick says. “We are investing in the future.”

Dick, who has a bachelor’s in geological engineering, spent 23 years in the oil and gas industry; 16 of those with Amoco, living and working throughout the western United States and later as the president of a privately held oil and gas company called Presco Western LLC.

When Dick and Stasi were starting out and raising their three children, they remember receiving calls about giving back to Michigan Tech. “At the very beginning when they called us, we’d give $25 or $50,” Dick says.

After returning to Houghton, Michigan in 2005 to open the Keweenaw Brewing Company, also known as the KBC, they began to employ college students at the brewery taproom, many whom attended Michigan Tech.

The couple credits the success of the taproom to support from Michigan Tech students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends.

“The KBC has become more than just a brew pub. It’s a community gathering place,” Stasi says. “It’s like a coffee shop that serves beer. We are entwined with Michigan Tech. Our business is entwined. We wouldn’t be here if not for our educations at Tech.”

Continue reading


Inventor. Investor. Donor. Legacy Creator.

dick_liz_henesRichard “Dick” Henes made transformational contributions to help create the future for students and faculty at Michigan
Technological University.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, invested their resources to help the world, something the couple did for many years. “What we are doing is small compared to what Michigan Tech can do for the world,” Henes said when donating to the University.

On January 30, 2017, Dick Henes passed away surrounded by his family. He was 89 years old. His wife, Liz, passed away June 4, 2013. The couple were married for 66 years and lived in Arizona. The couple have three children, four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Continue reading


Practicing Catalyst Philanthropy—Robert and Ruth Nara

photo of Bob and Ruth Nara
Robert and Ruth Nara
Bootjack, Michigan

Gift Designation
Michigan Tech Trails

Type of Gift
Cash Gifts

If Bob and Ruth Nara were to craft a mission statement, it would read, “Leave the world a better place.”

Residents of Bootjack, in Lake Linden, Michigan, the Naras practice what they call catalyst philanthropy, or gifts that inspire other gifts. One of the most famous of their projects is the Nara Nature Park in Houghton, where visitors enjoy boardwalks around the Pilgrim River, trails up through the woods, and bridges over creeks.

“After a lifetime of paying taxes, we devised a concept that we, in effect, tax the government to fund our hobbies,” Bob says. “We donated a valuable piece of real estate to the City of Houghton for parks and recreation purposes.”

Then, they helped get grants to fund skiing and hiking trails as well as a chalet on the property. They provided a cash gift to the University to expand the Tech Trails to the park, creating a fifty-mile network of trails for year-round use.

The Naras support Michigan Tech in other ways. They made a gift-in-kind that helps to document the region’s past: Bob’s grandfather was a well-known local photographer, and the family has donated many of his images to the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Bob and Ruth then funded scanning equipment so the archives can make its images available via the Web. They also are donating their proceeds from the sale of a book of J. W. Nara’s photos to the Tech archives.

In addition, they initiated semiannual luncheons at which Michigan Tech’s president updates local community leaders on the University’s progress and plans. If unable to line up a sponsor for the luncheon, they have paid the cost themselves.

To the Naras, paying it forward is a way of life.

“Leave a legacy that will keep on living and keep on giving,” Bob says. “How can you beat a hobby like that?”

For more information on the wide range of options to support Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Gift Planning.