Skip to Content

Loyal Alumni Say Thank You to Truman


From left: Stefanie, Brock, Cade and Todd Rohler

A deep sense of gratitude, combined with a dedication to improve the lives of others, led Todd '89, '91 and Stefanie '89 Rohler of Grundy Center, Iowa, to make a significant estate gift commitment by naming the Truman State University Foundation as a beneficiary of their retirement plan assets.

"We want to enable other young students to have the quality education that we received at Truman. We would like to help them graduate as debt-free as possible, so that they can pursue whatever comes next without a heavy financial burden," Stefanie says. "We are pleased that Truman remains a leader in excellent, yet affordable, education. We want to help keep that tradition going strong."

Giving a gift of IRA assets was not only a generous decision on the part of Todd and Stefanie but also a strategic choice. Tax-deferred retirement assets, such as IRAs and 401(k) plans, are heavily taxed when left to heirs. With income taxes alone, the IRS could take up to 35 percent of the value. The tax implications are even greater for those estates that are subject to estate taxes.

By naming Truman as the beneficiary of their retirement assets, they are putting the full amount to philanthropic use. "Leaving a gift of retirement plan assets had several advantages for us. It allowed us to leave a significant gift without putting a strain on our short-term finances. It also allows our gift to the University to grow as our own retirement assets grow," Todd explains. "The paperwork involved to make that happen is minimal, and our financial planner had the necessary forms ready in a few minutes."

A Solid Foundation
Todd and Stefanie know firsthand the transformational power of a Truman education and the critical importance of providing financial support. Both displayed great promise for future success when applying for admission to the University's 1985 freshman class. This promise earned each of them scholarship awards that made Truman (then Northeast Missouri State University) financially accessible. "Stef was the first one in her family to go to college, and the financial help was a great relief to both her and her parents. That help for undergraduate school made it possible for both of us to pursue graduate degrees," Todd says.

After graduating in 1989, Todd enrolled in Truman's Master of Arts in Education program while Stefanie began work on her doctorate in optometry in St. Louis. The quality education they received at Truman helped launch Todd's career as a talented secondary school educator and Stefanie's career as a highly regarded optometrist and small business owner. "We both wanted to give that opportunity to someone else. We strongly believe that our gifts to others should be done joyfully in response to the blessings we have been given in our own lives," Stefanie says.

Imagining a Bright Future
Todd and Stefanie have chosen to designate their future gift to benefit the Truman Fund for Excellence. This unrestricted fund supports the areas of greatest need at Truman. "Stef has worked with our local hospital foundation board, and she knows that unrestricted gifts are the most useful," Todd says.

"Unrestricted gifts can be used for any purpose. Who can predict a future need? We trust that the leadership of the University will know best how to use the gift for the most urgent needs, or to benefit the most students. A restricted gift could mean that our money would not be available for a critical project. We wouldn't want that to happen. Besides, we liked so many aspects of Truman, it would have been hard to pick one specific area to designate!"

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Truman State University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Truman State University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Kirksville, Missouri, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Truman or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Truman as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Truman as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Truman where you agree to make a gift to Truman and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address