"My Experience at Truman State University Changed My Life"
Enhancing and transforming the lives of talented students is a commitment that Truman State University embraces with each new day. It is facilitated in every aspect of university life, including the classroom, servicelearning opportunities, mentoring relationships, internships, study abroad experiences, special programming and more. Change happens incrementally, as the full impact of the Truman experience culminates in a realization that is both observable and permanent. It is our responsibility to ensure that each student is transformed by his or her Truman education and positioned for even greater future achievement.
Todd Holcomb, a 1984 Truman graduate and president of Western Nebraska Community College, will testify to the power of that transformational influence. His experience as a Truman undergraduate changed his life and elevated him to more fully realize his potential as an educator and a leader. "The critical thinking and problem-solving skills I learned at Truman have allowed me to understand complex financial, communication and administrative areas," Todd says. "I have lived the Truman ideal: becoming an active, outgoing learner, appreciating the arts and diversity of people throughout the world, and applying my life toward the betterment of those around me."
Todd is now eager to help ensure that future graduates are also transformed by the Truman experience. He acknowledges that the most substantial gifts are often arranged through a gift from a donor's estate. "For many educators, retirement assets are their largest investment," he says. "Retirement providers can make it easy to designate a percentage of one's assets to various entities after death. It was easy working with my retirement provider to designate a portion of my retirement money to Truman State University."
A Tax-Smart Gift
Giving a gift of retirement assets is not only a generous decision on Todd's part, but also a strategic choice. 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 a portion of his retirement assets, Todd is putting the full value of that gift to philanthropic use. As a result, his gift will create an endowed scholarship through the Truman State University Foundation.
"I was a first-generation college student and paid for all my expenses," Todd says. "I received a small scholarship from a local businessman during my first year of college. The amount was probably minimal in his mind, but it made a world of difference in mine."
Todd's estate gift will also fund an endowment to support Truman's dean of students in his or her direct efforts to assist students. "Engaging, knowledgeable and caring faculty create an environment of success for students," Todd says. "With the right student motivation involved in this equation, higher education institutions become fundamental change agents in our society. However, there are always external forces, situations or emergencies that can happen in a student's life. After serving as the co-chair of the Crisis Response Team at Miami University, I witnessed how a little discretionary money in the hands of the right person can assist students or student organizations during a difficult transition period."
Todd's career has afforded him a unique perspective and a deeper understanding of the necessity for charitable giving in higher education. "As I advanced in my professional career, I witnessed how gifts large and small could change a college, university or a single student's life," he says. Donors like Todd are a vital component to the future success of Truman and our deserving students.