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Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

Alumni to Give Their Home in the Name of Education

Sue and Fred Leitert

Fred and Susan Leitert give their home in the name of education at MSU.

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.

Your Gift Empowers Michigan State

Contact MSU Office of Gift Planning at 800 232-4678 | 517 884-1000 or giftplan@msu.edu to learn how you can make a difference for current and future Spartans.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Michigan 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 and devise to Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, the sum of $__________ dollars (or state percentage of estate) to be held, administered, and used by the Board of Trustees for support of Michigan State University in the area of greatest opportunity (or designated to your college or degree, academic, athletic or cultural program of your choice).

I instruct that all of my charitable gifts shall be made, to the extent possible, from property that constitutes "income in respect of a decedent" as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code.

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.

cannot be changed or cancelled

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 MSU 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 MSU as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 MSU 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 MSU where you agree to make a gift to MSU 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.

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