Category Archives: Gift Planning

Updating Tech’s Athletic Facilities—John and Ruanne Opie

John and Ruanne Opie
John and Ruanne Opie
Weston, Connecticut

Gift Designation
Student Ice Arena

Type of Gift
Cash Gifts/Pledge

John and Ruanne Opie have demonstrated their commitment to Michigan Tech’s facilities and academics time and time again through their generous gifts.

Most recently, the Opies made a significant contribution toward the purchase of a $615,000 video scoreboard for the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The scoreboard offers Huskies fans an enhanced viewing experience with game replays, highlights, and information displays.

“Ruanne and I are pleased to join with other alumni and supporters of the hockey program by matching their donations to the project,” said John, a member of the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame. “The video scoreboard will be an important addition to the arena.”

John graduated from Michigan Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1961. He delivered Tech’s commencement address in 1987 and again in 2001, receiving Honorary Doctorates in Engineering and Business. He spent most of his career with General Electric, retiring in 2000 as vice chairman/executive director.

The Opies previously gave $1 million for the construction of 10 skybox suites in the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Along with supporting Michigan Tech’s athletic programs, they have funded a 54,000-square-foot addition to the J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library and established an endowment to support the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

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


Advancing Sustainability through Endowed Chairs—Richard and Bonnie Robbins

Photo of Richard and Bonnie Robbins
Richard and Bonnie Robbins
Seattle, Washington

Gift Designation
Endowed Chairs
Sustainability

Type of Gift
Charitable Remainder Trust
Appreciated Securities

Richard and Bonnie Robbins created the Robbins Chairs of Sustainability, which include a Chair in Sustainable Manufacturing and Design, a Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials, and a Chair in Sustainable Management of the Environment.

A total of $6 million has been committed through their charitable remainder trust that will ultimately come to Michigan Tech to fund the primary endowment for the chairs. In the interim, they are supporting the three chairs with a yearly $60,000 payment to be provided through their existing $700,000 Robbins Fund at the Michigan Tech Fund.

Richard graduated from Michigan Tech in 1956 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In 1958, he joined the Robbins Company and assumed leadership of the firm when his father died three months later. The company’s string of records in tunnel-boring technology includes the boring of the “chunnel,” the three huge tunnels under the English Channel.

Establishing the Robbins Chairs in Sustainability was a natural fit, Richard said. “My wife and I both consider ourselves environmentalists, and we also support sustainability.”

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


Supporting Mechanical Engineering Students—Rudolph and Judy Shunta

photo of Rudolph and Judy Shunta
Rudolph and Judy Shunta
Muskegon, Michigan

Gift Designation
Endowed scholarships
for ME-EM students
Mechanical Engineering

Type of Gift
Appreciated Securities

“Normally, Judy and I prefer to keep our charitable activities, if not anonymous, certainly low key,” says Rudy Shunta. “We like to help out where we can, but the magnitude of our donations certainly doesn’t put us at the philanthropist level.” Nevertheless, the Shuntas agreed to “go public” to encourage others. “We wanted to share our belief that it is everyone’s responsibility to pass along their good fortune to those who follow them,” he says.

Rudy paid his way through Michigan Tech in a multitude of ways. His parents helped, his uncle arranged for a summer job, and he received several minor scholarships. “I also had a fellowship as well as a teaching assistantship and a counselor assignment in Wadsworth Hall,” he says.

With this help, Rudy earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1962, followed by an MS in Engineering Mechanics a year later. Those degrees contributed to a successful career at General Motors and later at Dana Corporation’s Perfect Circle Sealed Power Division, where he was vice president/general manager.

After Rudy retired, he and his wife began donating appreciated securities to fund the Rudy and Judy Shunta Endowed Scholarship, which supports undergraduate mechanical engineering students.

“I’ve always been interested in investing, and over the years, I’ve bought stock that has appreciated quite a bit,” Rudy says. “By giving it to Michigan Tech, you don’t have to pay capital gains, and the University receives the full value.

“We are hoping that those who benefit from this scholarship will someday feel the responsibility to do the same as we have done. Good fortune is only a loan. Pass it on.”

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


Promoting Student Success with a Bequest—Waino Wahtera

Photo of Waino Wahtera
Waino Wahtera
Marquette, Michigan

Gift Designation
Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success

Type of Gift
Will Bequest

A generous bequest of approximately $875,000 from the estate of Waino Wahtera is funding the new Wahtera Center for Student Success at Michigan Tech.

Waino earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Michigan Tech in 1942. His degree contributed to a successful career at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York, from which he retired in 1977 as senior air pollution control engineer. Waino passed away in June 2012 at the age of 93.

After discussions with Waino’s nephew, Michigan Tech decided to use his undesignated bequest to coordinate an array of initiatives to help students complete their degrees. His gift will help the University to provide additional funding to the learning centers, develop workshops and hire peer coaches, initiate an academic recovery program for suspended upper-level students, increase cooperation with academic advisors, and remodel the Office of the Dean of Students to bring staff together.

The concept behind the Wahtera Center for Student Success arose over a year ago, said Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman. “We wanted to bring the academic student support services together, so we could create better programs for our students. Then we received the bequest from the Wahtera estate, and that has enabled us to move more quickly. We are very grateful to the Wahtera family for making this possible.”

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