We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
For Ted ’61 and Pat (Kelly ’61) Howe, the four years they spent at Grove City College will always hold special memories. The College is where they met. It is where, in Ted’s words, they grew up and matured. And Grove City College “helped us form our future goals.”
One of those goals, as it turns out, is supporting the College through a charitable gift annuity.
“Grove City College was really a great place to be,” says Ted. “You felt like you were part of a community and you were able to get involved in a lot of activities.” Ted and Pat met during their sophomore year and married in 1961, shortly after graduation. His degree was in economics, while hers was in education.
Ted, who spent 31 years in corporate human resources before going into business for himself, is now retired. He and Pat have settled near Austin, Texas, within minutes of their three children and two grandchildren. Today, they are both active volunteers—Ted with prison ministry and coaching basketball and Pat with the local school system.
It was while living in Florida, from 1996 until 2004, that the Howes reconnected with Grove City College and began attending alumni events in the Tampa-Sarasota area.
Their reasons for establishing the charitable gift annuity are part sentimental, part financial and have a lot to do with the College’s mission. “We did meet there,” says Ted, “and we feel it is important that GCC continues to emphasize its Christian heritage and presents students with a Christian worldview, along with a quality education.
“The gift annuity provides regular payments—it helps with our retirement while supporting a Christian organization.”
Ted and Pat are members of the Faith & Freedom Society, which was established to honor those who share the values of Grove City College and support the College with an estate or planned gift.
“We’ve also have made annual gifts to the College for the last 10 years or so,” says Ted, “and we plan to return for the 2006 Homecoming, our 45th reunion. It will be our first return to campus in 30 years.”
Almost 50 years ago, Ron Brandon ’64 was a high school senior considering college options. He selected Grove City College in part, he says, on affordability.
Ron, a 1964 graduate, is a retired businessman. He was successful in the manufacturing field and, along with wife Joyce, owned six small-market radio stations, some in Butler County, Pa.
“Much of our net worth is because of Grove City College and Dr. Hans Sennholz,” Ron says. “I was able to attend because of affordability and learned from Dr. Sennholz. I’m repaying the ‘debt’ for all I received by assisting current and future students.”
Before the 2007 school year begins, an incoming freshman from one of eight high schools in Butler County, Pa., will be awarded a scholarship from the Ron and Joyce Brandon Academic Scholarship Fund. That student will be the seventh Brandon scholarship recipient.
Recipients who maintain the required academic standing receive the scholarship for four years. “We’ve been blessed,” Ron says, “and we had to ask ourselves, ‘What do we do with the fruits we’ve been given?’
“I came to Grove City because of affordability and have come full circle, perpetuating affordable cost by helping other students.”
The Brandons have also established a charitable remainder trust and provide for the College in their wills.
Ron and Joyce encourage all Grove City College graduates to establish a legacy by giving back to the College. The college, they say, has many successful alumni who can show their appreciation through estate and charitable gift plans, or by endowing a scholarship or contributing to the general scholarship fund.
“When we decided to do this,” Joyce says, “we wanted our money to go to an organization that is a good steward. Grove City has remained true to its values.”
For John Dogger ‘93, the education he received as a student at Grove City College has come full circle in equipping him to plan ahead for his charitable giving. Dogger fondly remembers his days on campus, highlighted by playing sports and studying “pretty much everything.” Today, he is the youngest person with a planned gift to the College.
Dogger lives in Charleston, S.Ca. with his wife Dagne and their two children, Annika, 4, and Calvin, 1. Dogger created Asperon—an information technology company that provides technology solutions for organizations—and he also handles corporate operations for Argents Express group.
He said his parents always set an example of generosity, in both volunteerism and charitable giving, instilling early the philanthropic ethic that he follows today.
When he considered how best to take care of the people and causes that were most important to him, Dogger felt that planning ahead was essential. He chose a life insurance policy as his way to make a gift to the College, structured in a plan that first takes care of his family and then uses the extra as an investment built up in annuity to give to charitable organizations.
Motivated by a desire to give back to the College in a tangible way, Dogger explained that including the College in his life insurance policy was a logical and simple thing to do. “There’s only so much that you can do with money. Giving back out of the increase of what we have is what I would consider to be the American way.”
He said that he hopes his gift will have a small part in benefiting future students and the College as a whole. “This type of plan is such a simple step, and early preparation makes a planned gift manageable and viable. That’s going back to the financial education I got at Grove City—the earlier you plan something, the easier it is.”
Throughout 50 years and five months of marriage, Royal Parker ’52 was constantly amazed at how his wife, Miriam (Shellito ’52) Parker, beautified the world around her – be it with her music, her gardening or just her personality.
Today, more than three years after her passing, Royal is providing Miriam with a beautiful legacy. He is donating a new, one-of-a-kind organ in her memory to Grove City College.
Royal used his individual retirement account (IRA) to fund the gift under the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (KETRA), which provided tax-favored treatment of certain early distributions from retirement funds.
Miriam, a lifelong musician, began playing the organ as a student at Grove City College. “She was a very fine musician, very accomplished and had perfect pitch,” says Royal. “This is something I just had to do.”
After graduation, Royal says that he and his wife “lived all over.” He was a financial professional with several major firms and organizations. She was a business teacher and legal administrator. They had three children.
“Wherever we lived, Miriam always played the organ for our church,” Royal recalls. After her death, he happened to read in The GeDUNK, the Grove City College alumni magazine, how J.R. Daniels ’89 was involved in organ restoration. One thing led to another, with Royal eventually commissioning a custom organ for Grove City. It was made by Fritz Noack of Georgetown, Mass.
The new organ was crafted in a traditional style and is completely mechanical. It has already been installed in a specially prepared room in the Pew Fine Arts Center, with a dedication ceremony planned for March 2007.
Royal says he is very pleased that KETRA allowed him to make a major gift in his wife’s memory and honor without any federal tax penalties. New legislation signed into law this year – the Pension Protection Act of 2006 – follows suit and allows donors to make significant charitable gifts from their IRAs with no federal income tax consequences.
“This is the type of investment where the return is immediate,” says Royal. “My wife was a beautiful, beautiful person. I am so proud to honor her in this way.”
Scott Johnston '55 is truly an entrepreneur at heart. After graduating from Grove City College with a degree in political science and history, Johnston began a career in metal tubing sales. As he developed an understanding of the industry, Johnston set his mind on achieving his lifelong goal: to own his own business.
In 1963, Johnston co-founded Phillips & Johnston, Inc., a highly profitable metal tubing distributor based in Glen Ellyn, Ill. It was here that Johnston and his wife, Anne (Whitely '57) lived for 29 years while raising their children, Debby, Betsy and Scott.
After a long career as co-owner, Johnston sold the company that he helped to establish. Today, he continues to serve on the board, and he and his wife live in Onekama, Mich., where they are able to enjoy visits with their three children and nine grandchildren. Although Johnston has retired, he is still a venturous man. Not only did his experience at Grove City provide him with the necessary tools to be a successful businessman, but it further instilled in him a sense of generosity and appreciation.
"As the years go on, your experience from Grove City becomes more important. You only have so many things that shape your life. Grove City was definitely one of them for me," Johnston said.
Because of the fond memories and excellent education that Johnston and his wife received at Grove City, they chose to invest in a Charitable Gift Annuity as a way to give back to the College that had given them so much.
Their type of gift generates high-return lifetime payments to the donor, along with several tax advantages. It is also an important way for a person to continue to give to the College even after their lifetime. At that time, the principle of the investment continues to provide financial support to a specific area of their choosing within the College.
"I would definitely recommend Charitable Gift Annuity. It's a really good investment," Johnston said. "And you get a good feeling about helping Grove City College."
“The manner in which Don lived his life was an inspiration to many—but especially to me!” says Patricia Lang Watso. Today, seven years after the passing of her husband and best friend, Donald Watso, Pat is carrying forward the torch of generosity and Christian values Don exemplified.
“Don and I always believed that we have a responsibility to help others,” Pat explains. When the Watsos considered the causes closest to their hearts, Grove City College always topped the list.
One of seven children, Don enrolled at the College in his hometown of Grove City to remain close to his terminally ill mother. While in college, his mother passed away. Don continued pursuing his education despite the hard circumstances, and in 1959 he graduated with a degree in commerce. After earning his CPA, Don went on to work with several Fortune 500 companies.
In 1991, Don became ill and was ultimately diagnosed with cancer. For 10 years he courageously fought the disease, while maintaining an amazing optimism. He also took the time to reflect and think of others. “Don believed Grove City College made a significant difference in his life,” Pat says, “and he wanted to assist in giving young people with financial limitations the opportunity to attend Grove City College.” The couple set up a charitable trust to be funded with a life insurance policy. The gift will result in the Donald Robert ’59 and Patricia Lang Watso Memorial Scholarship Endowment.
“During the last days of Don’s life, he told me that I was going to have to represent both of us,” Pat remembers. “I am so privileged to do this.”
Currently, the college is able to provide only 45 percent of the unmet needs for our students. Call us today to see how you, too, can help deserving students earn a cherished education.
“Grove City College is an excellent college that provides young people with the tools and values to become the best they can be in their life’s endeavors.” —Patricia Lang Watso