“The basic and fundamental reason for contributing to the VPI Campaign for Excellence through the Virginia Tech Foundation must be the desire to make a contribution to the University for the many advantages given the individual and the appreciation for what it has contributed to the State and the Nation. The by-products of tax relief and potential endowment advantages are secondary.”
I graduated from VPI in 1934, the end of the depression, with a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I was awarded a Teaching Fellowship in the Applied Mechanics Department under Dr. Louis O’Shaughnesy, and under the guidance of Professor Dan Pletta, obtained a Masters Degrees in 1935.
My first job was with the Newport News Shipyard where I was paid .75 per hour, approximately $2,000 per year, which was one of the best paying jobs for any graduate at that time.
With my entry into the real professional engineering world, in comparison with graduates of other institutions, I soon realized that my overall education had been as good as any of them and my military education better than most, thanks to the Commandant, Colonel Tenney.
Despite the fact of very limited extra curricular activities in the mid 1930’s, in comparison with those available today at the University, I found some interesting and profitable ones.
Tome Rice (Class of 1934) and I became members of the VPI Quartet, and “sang for our supper” at PTA meetings and other functions thus breaking the routine of Corps life and the Mess Hall. In later life, I continued singing in church choirs ultimately becoming involved in church leadership activities on Parish and Diocesan levels, thus attaining an interesting and comforting spiritual life.
Having enjoyed novice horseback riding in my early life, I decided to take a course in “Horsemanship” offered by the Department of Agriculture where we studied horses in class and rode in the riding ring the string of outstanding horses under the watchful eye of Professor Hunts. In the beginning, the spirited horses literally “rode us,” but we learned control. In later life, I was able to ride into remote places in many parts of the world and enjoy sites not normally accessible. During my time in the Army during World War II, even though I was an artillery officer on the Staff of the Commanding General, Trinidad Sector Command, I was selected to be the General’s Aide because he was a Calvary Officer and wanted an aide who could ride. At the end of the War, I was on the staff of General Eisenhower at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces at Frankfurt, Germany, and enjoyed the opportunity to ride some of Europe’s finest horses at Kronburg Castle near Frankfurt. (There I occasionally saw Ray Bondurant, Class of ’34, who was the American Aide of the British General Montgomery.)
During our senior years, John E. Ware, Class of ’34, and I decided to take a course in “Investment Analysis” offered by the Department of Business. We became interested in stocks and wanted to buy some, but with barely enough funds to meet requirements, that posed a problem. In the winter quarter, I obtained a job in the Mess Hall as a waiter, thus saving the nominal board fee of $50. With that money, I purchased Packard Automobile Motors Stock on John’s advise, held the stock for about six months, sold it more than doubling my money (pure luck), and bought a 1930 Model Ford sedan for $150, which I drove back to school my post graduate year when we were allowed to have cars.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that the overall education I received at VPI has greatly enriched my life in many respects beyond that of a professional engineer and included classical, spiritual, recreational, and financial aspects. I doubt if I could have obtained that wide scope of enrichments at many other institutions.
In the early 1980s after meeting the necessary family financial obligations of housing and education and upon reaching reasonable family financial stability, I attended a VPI alumni meeting at which members of the Department of Development outlined the various unitrusts and other ways that contributions could be made to the University. At about the same time it came to my attention that the Federal Government was going to reduce funds given to institutions of higher learning and at the same time expenses in a board front were rapidly increasing. It appeared to be an ideal time to make a contribution to the University, and I discussed details with Charlie Forbes and other Department personnel.
After discussions with my wife, we determined that our ultimate goal would be a gift of $100,000 to endow a professorship, but that it would have to be attained over years in stages. We selected a “Charitable Remainder Unitrust” as the vehicle, and the Department of Development assisted us in developing the appropriate financial agreements.
Our first contribution was made in December 1982, consisting of shares of appreciated stock and cash totally $25,000. Our second contribution was a piece of appreciated property on the York River with a value of $35,000 contributed in November 1984. Our third contribution was shares of appreciated stock totaling $42,000 contributed in October 1985.
All of the above contributions were accompanied with appropriate Federal and State income tax deductions in keeping with the terms of the Unitrust. Since the first contribution, we have also been receiving quarterly income, some taxable and some non-taxable, in keeping with the terms of the trust.
It has been both very pleasant and informative to have worked with Charlie Forbes, Duke Perry, Gary Ragnow, and other personnel of the Department of Development when establishing the Unitrust and it appears to be an outstanding method of making contributions to the University in a manner that will ultimately be of great advantage and satisfaction to both parties. I recommend it to all who are so inclined.