Gift Planning

McConnell family's connection to Miami leads to memorial gift

Keelin Haynes

Keelin Haynes participated in the Geospatial Analysis Center Student Internship Program in the summer of 2018.

Inspired by her father, Dr. Wallace McConnell, Ruth endowed the Wallace and Della McConnell Memorial Fund with a gift in 1992 to support the Department of Geography in memory of her parents. Dr. McConnell started teaching at Miami in 1918 and served as chair of the geography department from 1946 to '52.

The fund supports the McConnell Annual Lecture series, which attracts public figures and recognized scholars to Miami's campus to speak on current issues in geography, as well as the Geospatial Analysis Center Student Internship Program.

Students in this internship program contribute to both grant-based research projects and external contract work, giving them practical training and positioning them well for future graduate school and career opportunities.

Keelin Haynes, a graduate student in the geography department, benefited from the internship during the summer of 2018. Keelin collaborated with fellow student researchers in carrying out data collection in the field, learned new industry-leading software, and practiced professional communication with clients and scientists around the world.

"I know that due to my financial situation, these experiences would not have been available to me if the internship had not been paid," Keelin said. "With McConnell Fund funding, however, I was able to fully capitalize on this opportunity and grow as a scientist and as a professional."

Jessica McCarty, assistant professor, worked with students like Keelin on more than a half-dozen research projects, including producing the first estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from the 2017 wildfire in Greenland. "Working with full-time, paid student researchers was immensely rewarding," she said.

Throughout her life, Ruth sought out opportunities to learn. Nancy Pleibel, Ruth's co-worker at Stanford University and friend of more than 40 years, recalled Ruth often talking about her passions, including Miami. "She was an extraordinary person. She loved to read. She played the harp and was a very good musician. She was good at everything she took to, went after and participated in. She took schooling until she was 40. She was practically a lifelong learner. It was a big thing, always learning."

With her estate gift of $2.3 million, Ruth added support for the University Libraries, including the Walter Havighurst Special Collections housed at King Library, further representing her background growing up in the Miami community and a lifetime of service at Stanford University.

"We believe that Ms. McConnell's passion for learning will be reflected within our rich collections," said Jerome Conley, dean and university librarian. "The Walter Havighurst Special Collections and our archival collections are laboratories for the humanities, offering our students hands-on experiences with records and treasures from the past."

Want to leave a legacy like Ruth's at Miami University?

Contact the Office of Gift Planning at 513-529-1286 or email to learn more about how a gift from your estate can leave a lasting impact at Miami.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Miami 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 to Miami University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 725 E. Chestnut Street, Oxford, OH 45056, 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 Miami 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 Miami 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 Miami 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 Miami where you agree to make a gift to Miami 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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