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Jerry McKenna '69 Makes a Major Gift, Then Keeps on Giving


Jerry and Pat McKenna

Gerald McKenna '69 says he and his wife, Pat, decided to fund a scholarship for needy Saint Michael's students "because I was a needy student," Jerry says.

A job and student loans helped Jerry get through Saint Michael's, which he'd heard about through a pal at his Catholic high school on Long Island. In Winooski Park, Jerry drew inspiration from professor Arnold Gianelli, who became a good friend and guided him through his economics major; and from Cleveland Williams, who was advisor to the student government where Jerry served as Student Association president; and from Edmundite Fr. John Stankiewicz, an imposing figure who put the fear of God into the occasionally wayward young man, for which Jerry later thanked him.

Jerry observed that by showing respect to their "charges," these men were in turn well respected. It became a winning leadership formula for Jerry after college, first as a U.S. Air Force officer who soon realized, "it was your sergeants who got things done." He participated in ROTC at St. Mike's before serving in Germany as a pilot, supporting the Special Forces in Europe. In time, he became a top marketing executive for R.J. Reynolds in North Carolina, followed by a long stint at Cable One Inc., a communications company in Arizona, where Jerry and Pat now live.

"I always felt very attached to the College, because it's where I learned critical reasoning and analytical skills," he says. "I have a great group of friends and we have a wonderful time when we get together for reunions." At his 40th Reunion in 2009, Jerry and Pat decided to make a substantial testamentary gift to the College earmarked to a scholarship fund. For the previous 35 years, he'd given nearly every year as he was able, and he says, "I want to continue because the College has needs every year."

Now that Jerry's retired, he'd like to do more alumni volunteer work, beyond the phone mentoring for current students that he's already doing. "I'd like to say to my classmates, since we're coming up on our 45th Reunion this year, it's a good time for us to consider giving legacy or multi-year gifts to the College, because none of us are getting any younger!"

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Saint Michael's College 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, bequeath, and devise to Saint Michael’s College, an educational organization established by law at One Winooski Park, Box 256, Colchester, Vermont 05439, whose Federal Tax ID number is 03-0179403 [here follows the dollar amount or percentage of the gift, or an accurate description of the securities, insurance policies, retirement funds, or the amount or percentage of the residual estate, or the real estate or other assets given].”

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 Saint Michael's College 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 Saint Michael's College 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 Saint Michael's College 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 Saint Michael's College where you agree to make a gift to Saint Michael's College 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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