Skip to Content Skip to Main Content
Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

The (Extraordinary) Fruits of Labor

Edwin Carpenter

Edwin L. Carpenter's legacy extends his love for agriculture to generations of Spartans.

Edwin L. Carpenter loved three things in life: working, agriculture, and MSU.

As a result of his lifelong commitment to work—and the fruits of a career that lasted through age 90—Carpenter was able to make a gift upon his death in 2014 that jointly honored his two other loves: a $1.6 million donation to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "He was very proud of giving to MSU," Carpenter's nephew, Tom Carpenter, said. "I think it is amazing what my uncle did and the legacy he left."

Although the amount of his last contribution may have suggested otherwise, Carpenter did not live a lavish lifestyle, nor was he the benefactor of old family money. He was a hard-working man who lived simply and saved money.

Born the son of a dairy farmer in Union City, Michigan, in 1916, Carpenter adopted his work ethic early in life.

With his younger brother Bob still at home to help with the farm, Carpenter was presented with an opportunity not many farm kids had at the time: a chance to go to college.

Carpenter graduated from MSC in 1941 with a degree in agriculture and natural resources and returned to the family farm before serving his country in World War II. Upon his discharge, Carpenter came back home where he farmed alongside his brother Bob, growing corn, soybeans, oats, and hay.

His friend and neighbor Frank Hull told MSU: "Ed felt it was a great honor to be able to go to MSU (Michigan State College at the time). Although he didn't talk about it much, Hull believes one of the reasons Carpenter left his final gift to the college was to give "MSU farm kids" the same chance he had been given.

As a result of his contribution, the Edwin L. Carpenter Endowed Fund for CANR was created in 2015. An unrestricted endowment, the funds will be used at the discretion of the CANR dean, who can choose a different project each year.

"For our dean to have this resource is incredibly valuable," explained Tami Baumann, senior director of development for CANR. "It improves our ability to offer special programs that prepare and retain students. Because of the fund, we will be able to create advantages for a new generation of CANR students—all thanks to our friend Mr. Carpenter."

Use Your Bounty for Good

Large or small, a gift in your will to MSU advances knowledge and transforms students' lives. To learn more, contact MSU Office of Gift Planning at 800 232-4678 | 517 884-1000 or

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 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 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 MSU 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 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.

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