Putting Academics First Is Harpers' Goal


Anita and Les Harper

A lot of things have changed since Les Harper '55 (Business Administration) walked the grounds at Sacramento State as a student back in the ‘50s. As a member of the first class at the University's present location, he remembers how they once had only three sidewalks connecting the campus' three buildings.

"The rest of the campus gave us either a dust bowl or a mud bowl depending on the weather," he laughs.

Other things, however, have stayed pretty much the same. Les, like many students today, worked his way through college.

"I did enjoy my time at the school, but I worked most of the time when I was going there," he says. "Therefore, I was not able to participate in a number of the things that I would have liked."

Les recalls the trials and sacrifices to pay for classes and uses those memories as key motivators for him and his wife, Anita, to donate to the Alumni Association Scholarship Program through gifts of appreciated stock and real estate. Though he applauds and respects those students who—like him—work and go to school, he also realizes that too much work can keep students from their main objective: academics.

"When I was going to school years ago, I learned that if you have more time to dedicate to your studies, you do a greater and more lasting service to yourself," Les says. "My last semester, I was able to go to school and not work. As a result, my grades increased tremendously. It really makes a difference."

Anita adds that the scholarships don't make a difference just to students. She feels that giving has enhanced their lives, too.

"I think it's very rewarding to help these young students who need financial help rather than have them hold down two or three jobs," she says. "It makes me feel great that we're able to help that way."

Though not an alumna herself, Anita also appreciates a particular aspect of the scholarship application that speaks to the program's momentum for future generations. It reads that "the recipient will contribute to the success of the University and will graduate to be a productive member of society and an active Alumni Association member."

"I like that last part particularly," Anita says. "I think being an active alumnus is their way of giving back to the University, and I think students would be interested in contributing what they can."

Through the Alumni Association, the Harpers also met Mark Drobny, a member of the University Foundation and lead gift planning volunteer, and attended some of his Estate Planning 101 seminars where they learned about gift options for potential donors.

"That's how we got on track to give what we do for Sac State today," Anita says. "Mark got us in shape, and we took his sessions to heart. That was a big plus."

And as a result of the Harper's generous gifts, one Alumni Scholarship recipient they recently met explained how she was able to achieve a life-changing dream that she otherwise would not have been able to without their help.

Les recalls, "She was the first member of her family that had the opportunity to go to college."

For more information, please contact Lora L. Hollingsworth at (916) 278-6115 or lora.hollingsworth@csus.edu.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Sacramento State 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 Sacramento State, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6030, 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.

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 the University Foundation 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.

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 the University Foundation 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 the University Foundation 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 the University Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the University Foundation 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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