Alumni to Give Their Home in the Name of Education
Alumni Fred and Susan Leitert both loved the people they met at Michigan State-friends, faculty and each other.
Fred, who grew up in Rochester, New York, initially wanted to attend Cornell. But a school counselor encouraged him to apply more broadly, and Fred fell in love with Michigan State.
"I think it was the personality of the Midwest that attracted me," Fred says. "It's a very pretty campus, and I liked the people."
Sue, who is from the Detroit area, chose Michigan State after eating lunch in the union on a ninth-grade field trip.
The two started dating after they met at a touch football game during Sue's freshman year. Fred graduated in 1964 in engineering, and Sue graduated in 1965 in education. They married in 1965.
Fred spent his career in the chemical industry, while Sue taught for 18 years. Both retired now, they've enjoyed introducing their grandchildren to Michigan State through Grandparents University, a three-day program for grandparents and grandkids ages eight to 12.
"The professors have done a marvelous job of curating their disciplines to the younger kids," Sue says.
The Gift of Home
The couple, who live in Ashtabula, Ohio, created the Fred and Susan Leitert Engineering Endowed Scholarship Fund through a retained life estate gift of their home and multiple charitable gift annuities. The retained life estate gift allowed Fred and Sue a significant charitable deduction when they deeded their home to MSU in 2011, yet they can live in it as long as they wish. When they no longer live in their home, MSU will sell the property and the sale proceeds will be directed to their endowed scholarship fund at MSU.
Their charitable gift annuities provide them a fixed and guaranteed lifetime stream of income; much of which is tax free. Upon the death of the surviving annuitant, all gift annuity balances will also be directed to the Fred and Susan Leitert Engineering Endowed Scholarship Fund.
"I think being an educator, this is one of the best things we can do with our money," Susan says.
"We both agree that for our society to continue to be successful, providing opportunities for higher education, particularly in engineering, is essential," says Fred.