Category Archives: Students

Joe and Jane Warren: The Retirement Unitrust

Joe and Jane Warren
Joe and Jane Warren

Joe Warren remembers Professor Bredekamp’s class as if it were yesterday, but that’s to be expected, he says. “Anybody who had Bredekamp remembers.” The chemical engineering professor was lord of the Unit Operations Lab, where seniors routinely worked from dawn till midnight.

“He taught us the practical side of chemical engineering,” Joe says. “If we could satisfy Bredekamp, we could satisfy any boss.”

Joe began to apply those lessons immediately upon graduation, when he went to work at 3M. He rose through the ranks, eventually serving as vice president responsible for the Imaging Systems Group.

Now retired, Joe and his wife, Jane, are giving to Tech annually and also through a charitable remainder trust. “It’s a straightforward and easy way to make a gift,” Joe says. “I think some part of everyone’s estate should go to a good cause. Why give it to the government? You receive income from the trust and get a tax advantage as well. It makes a lot of economic sense.”

Joe says they donate to Michigan Tech in part because the University did so much for him. “And I recognize that the state doesn’t fund universities at near the level as when I went to school.

“The other underlying reason is that, from my years at 3M, I’m confident that Tech graduates will do a good job. Tech has always been a special place. It produces grads who are immediately productive. Our country needs outstanding college grads who are practical and able to solve problems.”

He proudly adds that one of their grandsons currently attends Michigan Tech.

*Please note: Since your unitrust benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.


Don and Joyce Lehman: Gift Annuity for Real Estate

Don and Joyce Lehman
Don and Joyce Lehman

Don Lehman came to Michigan Tech in 1959 to get an education and play football. He did both, earning MVP honors in 1962 and graduating in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

He says football, for which he earned a scholarship, taught him dedication and leadership. As for civil engineering, he liked the fact that he could get his hands around it. “I couldn’t see electricity,” he says, “but I could see that steel and concrete.”

After graduating, Don worked for thirty-two years at General Motors, retiring as assistant superintendent of maintenance and plant engineering at the Buick Motor Division in Flint.

In 2000, Don and his wife, Joyce, decided to transfer a rental property in exchange for a charitable gift annuity, which provided lifetime retirement income and a tax deduction to them and will later help Michigan Tech. Pleased with the results, they used another rental property and then appreciated securities to establish additional gift annuities. Don and Joyce also plan to fund annuities with deferred payments, which will supplement their two sons’ retirement incomes in the future.

While their annual giving largely supports Tech’s football program, most of the couple’s annuities will fund the Don and Joyce Lehman Endowed Scholarship for undergraduates who major in civil engineering and play football.

Don attributes their financial plan to Tech’s Eric Halonen, who, he says, generated the idea, provided the research, and helped them work out a plan when they wanted to begin diversifying their appreciated assets. “He continues to keep me informed and gives me good ideas.”

“Tech provided an education that helped provide my family a good living,” Don says. “Without scholarships and financial help, I would never have made it. My support now is like repaying a debt.”

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.


Dr. Damoder “Pati” and Soumitri Reddy: An IRA Bequest to Save Taxes

Dr. Damoder "Pati" and Soumitri Reddy
Dr. Damoder “Pati” and Soumitri Reddy

Damoder “Pati” Reddy understands better than most the value of education. It was education, made possible by his family’s sacrifices and his own hard work, that took him from a poor village in India to a successful career in California. He also credits his wife, Soumitri, for supporting him.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in India, Pati came to Michigan Tech. “My father wasn’t rich; he had to scrape and borrow for me to come here,” he says. Patti received an MS in Civil Engineering in 1962 and then a PhD from Northwestern University. He returned to Tech to teach until 1969, when he moved to the Los Angeles area to work for Agbabian Associates, a firm that designed structures to withstand earthquakes and nuclear blasts.

Pati scaled back to part-time work in 1986 to manage their investments and in 1990 retired completely. He has structured some of their retirement assets, including an IRA, to benefit Michigan Tech. He says, “An IRA is a smart way to help Tech since it’s such a highly taxed asset if given to heirs.”

He has also made Tech the sole beneficiary of a whole life insurance policy. And he has two other policies designated primarily for their heirs. Should there be a claim, however, a portion would support two endowed funds established in his and Soumitri’s name: a fellowship and a scholarship benefiting students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

In addition, the Reddy family makes annual gifts to provide current scholarships and fellowships and to build their endowments.

“I am very fortunate to have gone to Michigan Tech; it gave me a leg up,” says Reddy. “All I have accomplished is due in part to Michigan Tech, so I feel that I have to give back as much as possible.”


Edwin “Ned” Johnson: Deferred Gift Annuity–Helping Family and Michigan Tech

Johnson - Deferred Gift Annuity - Helping Family and Michigan Tech
Edwin “Ned” Johnson

Edwin “Ned” Johnson “wants to stay close to what’s worthwhile,” and that includes his family, friends, and his alma mater.

Ned’s college education was sidetracked by World War II and a stint as a POW. He came back to Michigan Tech on the GI Bill, earning his bachelor’s degree in metallurgical and materials engineering in 1947. Currently, the retired president of Cleveland-Cliffs (now Cliffs Natural Resources) lives in Florida but summers in the Upper Peninsula, visiting family, Tech, and “getting together with the old Cliffs gang once a month in Ishpeming.”

Along with his many years of annual giving, he supports Michigan Tech through deferred charitable gift annuities. He also stays connected to Tech through the University’s estate planning seminars and alumni events.

“I do what I can,” Ned says. “I can’t say enough about Tech. You get a great education at a reasonable cost, compared to many other schools. And, with the gift annuities, I can accomplish two of my goals, helping my kids during their retirement years and supporting the University.”

Talking to a group of Tech students some years ago, he recalled telling them that he “went to Tech BC: before computers, before calculators, before coeds.” Johnson appreciates the new Michigan Tech, too, and likes the direction the University is taking.

“They’ve added so many more advanced programs,” he says. “And there are a lot of good people up there.”

Hence Ned’s steadfast support over the years, including contributions to an endowed scholarship fund in his and his late wife Lois’s name, Huskies athletics, and an American Institute of Mining Education scholarship.

“I’m thankful for my Tech education,” he says. “And I’m glad I can give something back.”

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.


Bob and Ruth Nara: Current Gifts

Editor’s Note: Since this article was written, Bob Nara passed away in 2015 but his legacy continues at Michigan Tech.

Bob and Ruth Nara
Bob and Ruth Nara

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 their well-known 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?”


Dan and Carol Rivard: Bargain Sale–Part Gift and Part Sale

Rivard_med
Dan and Carol Rivard

Dan Rivard had a couple of distinguished careers at Ford Motor Company. First, he was the process quality overseer when “quality became job one.” Then, he was called out of retirement to run Ford’s international racing efforts, giving him entree to the pressure-cooker world of NASCAR, Formula 1, Indy cars, and World Cup rallies.

Today, he and his wife are helping Michigan Tech students through the Dan and Carol Rivard Product Realization Center. A gift to the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics, the lab allows students to design, model, and fabricate new products, so they can gain practical experience in all phases of engineering.

Dan credited in part legendary professor Aubrey Gibson for this inspiration and department chair Bill Predebon for the opportunity. “Gib had said that our labs had drifted from ‘hands-on’ to ‘the care and feeding of PCs,'” Rivard says. “When we dedicated the lab, Gib was there, and I asked him if the new lab would get us back to our future; he just smiled and chuckled.”

The Rivards’ decision to support an entire laboratory was executed via a gift-planning vehicle called a “bargain sale.”

“We had twenty-two acres with lakefront that had appreciated significantly, and we sold the parcel to Michigan Tech for well below its market value,” he said. The Tech Fund was able to sell the land at a substantial net gain, and the Rivards also were able to show a profit on their investment.

Their donation is helping students to shape their own futures, just as Dan’s Tech education and degree in mechanical engineering launched his extraordinary career. “I thought I was growing up to be a carpenter,” Dan says, recalling that he was the first in his family to attend college.

He has become a builder, of course, constructing a great life, both personally and professionally, while supporting Michigan Tech in appreciation for the valuable “toolbox” it gave him along the way.


Dave and Joy McBride: Deferred Gift Annuity–A Conservative Way to Give

McBride - Deferred Gift Annuity - A Conservative Way to Give
Dave and Joy McBride

Dave McBride recognized instantly that Michigan Tech would be a good fit. “When I went to Tech, I knew right off the bat it was the place for me,” he remembers.

McBride aimed to own his own construction company and majored in business administration. That also turned out to be a good fit. After graduating in 1982, he started up McBride Construction in Petoskey and has been in business ever since.

“My business education gives me a huge advantage,” he says. “Tech gave me the tools I needed to succeed. I got a tremendous value for my education dollar, and now I want others to have that opportunity.”

Dave and his wife, Joy, became annual donors just two years after he graduated. While still in their forties, the McBrides established two deferred-payment charitable gift annuities. “We wanted to make gifts that would significantly benefit Michigan Tech and at the same time have the flexibility to receive income from them,” says Dave. “It was a conservative way for us to make substantial gifts.”

Some donations were appreciated securities. “It’s an excellent way to give,” he says.

“I would highly recommend it.”

He credits Tech’s Advancement staff for opening their eyes to the benefits of giving. “Tech held an estate planning seminar that was hugely beneficial,” he said. “We were able to develop an estate plan in mid-career.”

The McBrides have enjoyed the emotional rewards of giving. “The business was successful, and we just felt it was the right time to support things that were important to us.”

“I’m very blessed to have found Michigan Tech and gone to school there,” Dave says. “It’s been a wonderful foundation for my life.”

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.


Ed Frayer: Charitable Gift Annuity–Peace of Mind

Frayer_med
Ed Frayer

As a former dean of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Ed Frayer wants to provide benefits to education long into the future. With endowed scholarships, he is doing just that.

When Ed retired from Tech, his financial advisor suggested purchasing a pension, but he didn’t want to draw down his principal, choosing instead to “live on less than the income from it” if he could.

“I did set up a deferred annuity with Michigan Tech to begin with,” he says, “to provide some steady retirement income during the ups and downs of equity investment returns and to later help forestry students. I’d given previously to the forestry building addition.”

As Ed continued his estate planning, he substantially increased his commitment to Tech with a trust bequest. He likes the fact that he can use the funds during his lifetime if necessary and is happy knowing that the remaining trust assets someday will significantly benefit Tech’s students.

There have been bumps along the way. His TIAA-CREF annuity wasn’t paying out as well as it used to, his stocks weren’t doing well (“like everybody else’s”), and some real estate investments near his home base in Lady Lake, Florida, have also faltered.

A tornado in February of 2003 came within a half mile of our house, too,” he says, appreciating the good fortune of the close call.

Overall, he demonstrates his commitment to education by teaching algebra and statistics at Central Florida Community College and also teaching seashell identification in his Florida living community.

And, of course, he supports education in his contributions to Michigan Tech. “I want to provide educational support that will last over time,” Ed says. “I know the students will use it and appreciate it.”

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.


Rudy and Judy Shunta: Gift of Appreciated Securities–Capital Gains Bypassed

Shunta - Gift of Appreciated Securities - Capital Gains Bypassed
Rudy and Judy Shunta

“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,” he says.

“Pass it on.”


Ken Larm: Charitable Gift Annuity–Fixed Income for Retirement

Larm - Charitable Gift Annuity - Fixed Income for Retirement
Ken Larm

Ken Larm, a civil engineering graduate and veteran of the Korean War, retired as a cost estimator and process engineer for the Crown Group Inc., Miller Metal Products Division, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A long-standing annual supporter of Tech, Ken’s reason for helping Tech is clear. “It’s important for the United States to stay in step with the world today regarding education,” he says. “Our country’s need for highly educated people keeps increasing, and we need to remain at the leading edge.”

Ken decided to supplement his annual Michigan Tech support with planned gifts, beginning with a charitable gift annuity in 2001. Since then, he also has included a bequest for Tech in his trust and has funded a second gift annuity with the Michigan Tech Fund using “good, old-fashioned” savings bonds. His giving has focused on biological sciences, civil and environmental engineering, and biomedical engineering.

Ken’s support of Tech meshes with his concern for K-12 school districts, especially those in Michigan. “A lot of districts are not up to their potential, and it will take a lot of effort to get them back on track,” he says. “Tech can help, not only through outreach but also by providing top-quality teachers with a solid foundation in math and the sciences.”

He sees the charitable gift annuities that he has funded as a “very easy and practical way to provide this support,” taking into consideration the tax benefits and the lifelong income stream they provide.

*Please note: Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your benefits.