Meet Our Donors

We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.

Bill and Lori Graham

Bill and Lori GrahamWith his 50th reunion on the horizon, Bill Graham '62 started thinking about a special gift for DePauw in addition to his loyal Annual Fund giving. His wife Lori suggested that a gift to the Art Department might be a great fit for them as avid art collectors. Bill took the initiative and called the Office of Gift Planning at DePauw to inquire, "What can we do for the Art Department?"

When the proposal came back for a digital art studio using iMac computers, the Grahams knew that it was the perfect project for them. "We love Apple products," said Bill, "so this idea was exactly what we wanted to fund."

Bill and Lori decided to make the gift with an IRA rollover. "It was a very easy and efficient way to make our gift," said the Grahams. "The whole experience has been very special," added Lori. They have enjoyed receiving letters from the students who will benefit from their support. In fact, after their significant initial gift the Grahams made a second installment just three months later to finish off the project.

This meaningful investment truly helps move the Art Department into the future and allows the technology to keep up with the amazing vision and talent of the students here at DePauw.

Tom Porter '65

Tom PorterPerhaps it's no surprise that Tom S. Porter '65 has included a bequest in his will to support the Thomas S. Porter Fund for Excellence, a fund he established at DePauw in 2006.

Innovation and creativity fascinate the award-winning entrepreneur and investor, now an adjunct professor and executive in residence at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

In 2005 Porter received the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence for his work with Detroit's Heidelberg Project. The project uses outdoor art to provoke thought, inspire action and heal urban communities.

The San Francisco native was the inaugural inductee to Eastern Michigan University's Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame and received several awards for his venture capital investing in healthcare technology. In 2001, Crain's Detroit Business named him among Michigan's Top 40 Technologists.

Porter, who has two children and two grandchildren, attributes much of his successful and rewarding career to DePauw. He had an "excellent" college experience, with Perk Allen (Accounting), Dr. Newton (Philosophy & Religion) and Dr. McCall (English) among the professors who influenced him.

"I believe my liberal arts education made it possible to adjust to, and capitalize on, the rapid change that has occurred during my lifetime," he said. "I received a terrific foundation."

Porter will ensure others receive that same foundation through his support of the Porter Fund for Excellence. The bequest and current gifts to DePauw encourage, reward and invest in innovative projects that move the University forward.

"As great an institution as DePauw is today, I wanted to provide some funds to help it become better," he said. "I established the Fund while I was still alive so I could choose how I, rather than my heirs, would give back to DePauw. I have the pleasure of remaining close to the school and enjoy watching my investment pay off while I am still alive." Porter currently serves on the DePauw Board of Visitors.

John and Nancy Null

John and Nancy NullWhen John S. Null '61 received the Rector Scholarship at DePauw, he joined a prestigious tradition — today, more than 4,000 graduates strong.

John received a full-tuition scholarship to DePauw, thanks to his overall academic achievement, high-school course curriculum and test scores. He earned a B.A. in psychology and met his wife, Nancy Spier Null '59, at a Delta Tau Delta/Kappa Kappa Gamma exchange at the Delt house in 1958. Nancy earned a B.A. in business education.

John later earned a law degree from Indiana University. He serves as vice president of the H.J. Spier Company, Inc., an independent insurance agency founded by his father-in-law in 1930.

Married for 50 years, John and Nancy have three children and ten grandchildren. The family is full of DePauw alumni: son John '85, vice president and treasurer of the H.J. Spier Company; brother-in-law Herbert J. Spier '62, vice president of H.J. Spier, and his wife Linda Lorton Spier '62; and niece Tracy Spier Osborn '86, owner and horticulturalist of Smiling Gardens.

"I very much appreciated my Rector Scholarship, and it's important to me to ensure that future DePauw students have the same opportunity I had," John said. He and Nancy funded a charitable gift annuity with non-dividend-paying stocks.

"Our philanthropic attitude is affected by the uncertainty of the estate tax code; it makes planning difficult," John said. "With the volatility of the market, converting a non-income asset into one that generates income has a strong appeal. With a charitable gift annuity, we benefit and so does DePauw."

Mike Wahl '53

Mike WahlMike Wahl '53 spent his career sharing the world of geology with his students. After leaving DePauw he earned a Masters and Ph.D at the University of Illinois where he served as a professor for 13 years before leaving for the University of Florida where he led the Geology department. Mike then moved on to Colorado where he led the Geological Society of America until his retirement.

All those students, all those colleagues - but when Mike wanted to share his love of learning geology and honor his wife Dorothy '53 as well, he gave a major gift to DePauw to endow the Student Field Trip Assistance Program.

"My wife and I loved DePauw and were always impressed with the education and personal attention we received," said Mike. "When she passed away in 2003, what better way to express our appreciation and 'give back' than to do something lasting for future DePauw students."

"Geology is first and foremost a field science, for it teaches an understanding of the earth and its geologic features," said Mike. His career had allowed him to travel throughout the world, he said, and those experiences inspired him to want to "pass this opportunity on to DePauw students of generations to come."

Nearly sixty years after graduating, Mike Wahl still isn't done giving to DePauw. He plans to add to the endowment in coming years, so it can support students who travel to scientific meetings to present results of their own research.

Dr. Wahl created the F. Michael and Dorothy W. Wahl Endowed Fund for Geosciences Field Trips with a major gift and continues to support it through his annual giving and a planned estate gift.


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to DePauw 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to DePauw University [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 DePauw 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 DePauw 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 DePauw 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 DePauw where you agree to make a gift to DePauw 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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