Mother’s Day

Three sisters are acting on their mother’s lesson of the value of a good education in a unique way. Sandra Berger, Laney Scherder and Linda Kaiser honored their mother, Gloria Roaden, by creating an endowed scholarship to assist nursing students. The Gloria M. Roaden Memorial Scholarship is available beginning this fall.

Berger received her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1993. She is the director of nursing at the Center for Surgery in Naperville, Ill. Kaiser resides in Florence, Ky., and is an office manager for a cardiothoracic surgery practice. Scherder lives in Union, Ky., and is the executive assistant to the president and CEO of Omnicare.

“Our mother knew that education was the most basic necessity after those vital to life itself, like food, clothing and shelter,” says Scherder. “Therefore, there is no better way to honor the memory of our mother than to continue her vision and passion for a good education to others.”

Gift Annuities 101

Tax benefits and a steady, reliable, high-level stream of income have long made charitable gift annuities a favorite giving vehicle for many people. This is especially true for those past the so-called accumulation stage of life who are not as concerned with increasing their assets, as with finding ways to ensure an income they can’t outlive.

But charitable gift annuities can also play a significant role in planning by younger donors. Let’s take a look at some annuity basics:

The Annuity Concept
Exactly what is a charitable gift annuity? As the name suggests, it is part gift–a contribution of money or property to the charity of your choice–and part annuity–an arrangement under which the charity agrees to pay your designated annuitant(s) fixed payments for life.

This annuity concept is probably familiar to those who lived through The Great Depression. In those days, the insurance man would stop by weekly to collect the 30-cent payments on a policy taken out to provide for a child’s education, an untimely death or future retirement. Since few had retirement programs in that era, most people could count on a comfortable old age only if they did it themselves. Commercial annuities were sold as a way to accomplish individual retirement programs. People deposited money with a company in exchange for the assurance that they would never run out of income.

In this respect, a gift annuity is not so very different from those old-time commercial annuities or, for that matter, from many modern-day, fixed-benefit retirement programs. In exchange for a sum of money transferred to a charity by a donor, the charity agrees to pay the designated annuitant(s), usually the donor and his or her spouse, a set, guaranteed annuity for life. These payments are backed by the full assets of the charity. As with a commercial annuity, a portion of the annual payment—sometimes a substantial portion—is tax-free over the annuitant’s life expectancy as a return of investment.

But here the similarity with a commercial annuity ends. As the name implies, a gift annuity is also part gift. At the death of the last beneficiary, the charity receives the funds remaining in the annuity account.

This gift component is very important because it generates two significant tax benefits. First, since a portion of the gift is treated as a charitable contribution, the donor gets an immediate income-tax deduction to help offset current income. Second, if long-term capital-gain property is used to fund the gift annuity, part of the gain escapes taxation, and the rest can be spread over the donor/annuitant’s life expectancy.

Tax Benefits: A Concrete Example
Let’s look at this example. Mrs. Williams, 70, decides to use stock with a fair-market value of $10,000, purchased years ago for $6,000, to fund a charitable gift annuity. In return, she receives an immediate charitable income-tax deduction of $3,594 to help offset her current tax bill. She also receives an annual annuity of $650 for life. Of this amount, $247 has to be reported as ordinary income, $242 as tax-free return of principal and $161 as capital gain over her actuarial life expectancy—15.9 years in Mrs. Williams’ case. If she lives beyond her life expectancy, from then on the entire annuity will be treated as ordinary income.

How a Gift Annuity Can Reduce Tax on Social Security
Many Social Security recipients are concerned about the tax status of their benefits. In the past, up to one-half of Social Security benefits were subject to tax if the beneficiary’s income from other sources, including tax-exempt income, exceeded certain base levels: $25,000 for single individuals and $32,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Since 1994, up to 85 percent of benefits can be taxable if provisional income—adjusted gross income [AGI] plus tax-exempt income plus one-half of Social Security benefits—exceeds $34,000 for singles and $44,000 for couples. One characteristic of the gift annuity should be of interest to anyone concerned about this tax provision: Since a portion of each payment is considered a return of principal, that portion is not added to a person’s AGI in determining whether their provisional income has exceeded the base levels.

Exchanging some of your present income-producing investments for a gift annuity can lower your adjusted taxable income and, consequently, reduce the taxable portion of your Social Security benefit. Our office would be pleased to provide a financial illustration showing the benefits of a gift annuity for your personal situation.

Non-tax Benefits
In addition to the tax benefits, people are often attracted to the gift annuity for other, less obvious reasons: A donor can establish a gift annuity with a relatively small sum of money; the procedure is straightforward and uncomplicated; there is no need to make a new will; and because a donor can receive payments from his or her gift, the gift annuity enables a person of modest means to make a gift during his or her lifetime without financial sacrifice.

What the gift annuity means to many donors is the security of a generous, regular, non-fluctuating stream of income—an end to the dramatic swings the marketplace has seen in the last several years. It also means that you are free from the burdensome details involved in managing your own investment portfolio, since we arrange for investment of the funds.

We Are Here to Help
There are many ways to apply the advantages of the charitable gift annuity to your individual situation, whether you are retired, preparing for retirement, or concerned about the financial well being of your survivors. If you would like more detailed information on our gift annuity program, simply return the enclosed card to request a complimentary copy of our new booklet, The Charitable Gift Annuity: Guaranteed Payments for Life.

A Growing Story

The Father Finn Society is enjoying an unexpected growth spurt. And that’s a good thing for the future of the University. The society, which recognizes those who remember Xavier in their will or through other planned gifts, added 38 new members in the past year. That came as a pleasant surprise for Mark McLaughlin, director for estate and trust services. Original goals called for a 10-percent increase—about 16 new members.

After this explosive year, McLaughlin is hoping for a relatively modest 15-percent growth in membership over the next 12 months. “We’d like to be near 300 members in the next few years.”

Hall of Fame

For years, they’ve been sitting in filing cabinets or storage boxes in dark closets: programs, trophies, individual pieces of history that collectively patch together the athletic accomplishments of the University. This fall, that changes. The University’s athletic history is being dusted off and put on display with the creation of the O’Keefe Family Athletic Hall of Fame. The hall, which is expected to be completed by the beginning of basketball season, is being constructed on the Cintas Center concourse in an area that overlooks the student dining area of the Center. The hall includes open display cases with memorabilia that will be rotated regularly and interactive kiosks with information about every member of the hall—stats, biographies, videos, interviews.

Xavier has 90 members in its athletic hall of fame, including some for boxing, polo and marathon running. One member is inducted for being a supporter.

Eighteen are inducted for participation in multiple sports.

The hall’s development came about following a gift from 1959 graduate P. Douglas O’Keefe. “I had no idea there was no hall of fame,” says O’Keefe. “And involvement in something of this nature was the farthest thing from my mind. If it had not been mentioned that they were looking for funding, I doubt if I would have sought out some project to sponsor. I hope that we can make it a real great asset to the school.”

O’Keefe didn’t play sports during his Xavier days—“As a 5-foot-9, 137-pound freshman with no natural ability, I was not really inclined to play sports in college on any level,” he says. But he followed the teams closely.

“One of my greatest memories is sitting in my friend’s living room and watching the clock tick down to the 1958 NIT Championship and seeing Hank Stein get the MVP trophy.”

He’s also kept a close watch on the team during his 30-year career at UPS that shuttled him around the country and led him to be the shipping company’s regional coordinator for air operations in the Pacific Region. He now lives in Austin, Texas, and checks in on Xavier daily on the Internet.

“I try to get back to a game or two each year,” he says. “It is hard to tear away from the weather in the South and go to the frozen North. I was at the Temple game this past season. I got on the plane in Austin in 70-degree weather and got off in a snowstorm. So you can see the motivation has to be great.”

He’s also motivated to make sure the hall isn’t just a basketball shrine but is a place that pays tribute to those from all sports who were elected.

“My vision is that this is a place to honor the people who are members, to highlight their accomplishments,” he says. “If someone in your family is a member, you should be able to go and see more than a plaque with his name on it. There are a lot of people in the hall of fame who are not household names among Xavier faithful. This should make a concerted effort to give them as much recognition as the more well-known members.

“These are the folks who have given their effort in their years at Xavier without the thought of being famous. They worked as hard at their sport or job as any of our more known alumni. This is our opportunity to recognize them for all to see and learn about.”

Spring Forward

The spring season proved quite successful for a number of Xavier teams:

  • Men’s golf—The team won the Atlantic 10 Conference title and earned its fourth trip to the NCAA Championships in the last five years.
  • Rifle—The team finished seventh overall in the NCAA Championship in its final season.
  • Volleyball—The team had its best A-10 record ever, finishing 12-2 and winning a share of the conference regular season title.
  • Swimming—The men’s team finished the season ranked No. 32 among mid-major schools, according to CollegeSwimming.com, while the women’s team ranked No. 37.
  • Women’s golf—The team finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Golf Championship.
  • Women’s tennis—Seniors Stephanie Bauer and Lauren Clary recorded their 100th doubles win together; the team was 15-6 on the season.

Sports Studies

Xavier once again found itself honored for keeping “student” in “student-athlete.” Members from several sports earned academic honors, including:

  • Volleyball player Kate Duckek, ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete-of-the-Year and the A-10 Academic All-Conference Team.
  • Volleyball player Jordan Brightwell, District IV Academic All-American.
  • Tennis player Lauren Clary, A-10 Student-Athlete-of-the-Year for the third consecutive year.
  • Tennis player Kristen Clary, A-10 All-Academic Team.
  • Tennis player Stephanie Bauer, A-10 All-Academic Team.
  • Tennis player Jeremy Miller, Academic All-Conference Team.
  • Swimmer Matt Young, Academic All-Conference Team.
  • Swimmer Dana Hunter, Academic All-Conference Team.
  • The entire men’s and women’s swim teams, CollegeSwimming.com’s Academic All-American Teams. The women placed second overall with a 3.55 GPA, while the men tied for 12th place with a 3.13 GPA. Both teams were the top A-10 schools.

The Natural

Dan Simonds stands on the well-groomed outfield grass of Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego shagging fly balls. It’s a warm summer afternoon, and the Chicago Cubs are preparing to play the San Diego Padres. Tom Trebelhorn, the Cubs’ manager, walks over to Simonds.

“Danny, see that sign over there?” Trebelhorn says, pointing to a wooden sign about 50 feet away decorated with the Padres’ logo—a robed friar swinging a baseball bat. “The first one to hit the Padre in the head with a ball wins; loser buys dinner. What do you say?”

Simonds agrees, and the challenge is on. After a few tries, Simonds nails the Padre right in the head. Crack. The sign breaks. Splits down the middle.

Like little boys who just broke a window playing backyard baseball, the two put on their innocent faces, go back to shagging flies and snicker as the stadium’s maintenance crew scrambles to fix the sign before the start of the game.

The next day, Simonds walks into the clubhouse and finds a $500 invoice for the sign. He runs into Trebelhorn’s office. “Tom, I can’t afford this.” Simonds is the team’s bullpen catcher and doesn’t make a big salary. Trebelhorn laughs and creates a kitty for contributions. Still not satisfied, Simonds runs to the stadium office and starts protesting. “They just looked at me like I was nuts,” he says. “They had no idea what I was talking about. The whole thing was a hoax.”

After 12 years in professional baseball, Simonds knows the ins and outs of the game—its plays as well as its pranks. And he’s now been put in charge of using that knowledge to handle a major challenge: rebuild a Xavier baseball program that deteriorated from a record-setting 32 wins in 1997 to a 16-38 record last year. It might take a while, he says, but he’s ready.

Simonds was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles after playing four years at Davidson College in North Carolina. For five years he wove his way through the minor leagues, earning a reputation as a hard-nosed player with a good mind for the game. One season he missed six weeks after suffering a broken jaw in a collision at the plate but still won the league’s best arm and best defensive catcher honors. He was part of the Diamond Diplomacy team that went to Russia on a goodwill tour. He was set to play on the Cubs’ Class AAA farm team in 1992 until the team made him an offer: Be a backup catcher in AAA or be a bullpen catcher in the major leagues, travel with the team, learn the game at the highest level and begin a coaching career. It wasn’t an easy decision, but at age 27 he felt his minor league days were numbered. So he began a new career. “I got the chance to talk to players and coaches at the big-league level and learn situations,” he says. “I was a sponge.”

The big-league gig ended with the lockout in 1994, so he took his first managing job with a Class A team in Alberta, Canada. “I was a little raw,” he says. “It was an independent league, so most of the players were renegades. But I learned a lot about dealing with players, different attitudes, different make-ups.”

The experience led to three years as a hitting/catching instructor with the Orioles’ and Padres’ organizations, and then to managing San Diego’s Class A affiliate in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Along the line he became teammates with a pitcher named Tracy Smith. The two became fast friends and kept in contact even after their careers went separate directions. While Simonds was in the professional ranks, Smith became head coach of Miami University in Ohio. After several attempts, Smith finally talked Simonds into joining his staff and getting into college coaching.

“I enjoyed the baseball part of the professional level,” he says, “but what got to me was the lifestyle—eating at McDonalds, 10-hour bus trips, four-and-a-half days off the entire season. And that kind of lifestyle isn’t the best thing for a family. So I loaded up the U-Haul.”

The biggest differences between the pro and college games, he says, are the athleticism, speed, confidence and concentration. The pros have more.

“But what’s better about college ball is the players play for the love of the game,” he says. “There are no ulterior motives; it’s not the money. And the relationships you develop are much more sincere. In the pros, a player may be here today, gone tomorrow. A lot of these kids’ careers end here. You’re developing the person as well and helping them do what they have to do to get a nice job after graduation. That’s what we preach when we recruit, because no matter where you’re playing, at some point it ends.”

It may take a few years to assemble a team that fits Simonds’ mold—fast, manufactures runs, good defense—but he’ll find the players, he says. A lot of it comes down to contacts. He’s got plenty of those. And that’s no hoax.

The Human Touch

The University didn’t have to look far to find a new strategic leader for its entrepreneurship program: Sherrie Human was named the Williams College of Business’ first Castellini Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies. Human has been part of the Xavier faculty since 1997, most recently serving as an associate professor of management and entrepreneurship. She takes over a program that in 2004 was rated No. 11 in the top 25 U.S. undergraduate entrepreneurship programs by The Princeton Review.

One of her first goals is to hone the program’s mission so it better reflects the mission of the University and the college.

“We’ve had so much success with such a wide range of undertakings, and we have to decide which of those things to really focus on. Once we clarify our mission, it will help us identify the resources we need to start developing whether human, financial or physical. Then as we grow and build our resources, we can begin to add new initiatives.”

Five Fine Fellows

During spring semester, five students were selected as the inaugural group of Winter-Cohen Family/Brueggeman Fellows.

James Buchanan, director of the Edward B. Brueggeman center for dialogue, says the idea behind the program is to give students the experience of approaching issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. At the same time, it exposes them to the global perspectives of the international figures taking part in Brueggeman programs.

The five students—Clare Herlihy, a senior theology major; Michael Gravelle, a senior human resources major; Bill Scwharz, a senior psychology major; Mary Anne Bressler, a graduate student in theology; and Kevin Fitzgerald, a junior philosophy, politics and the public major—found themselves doing research relevant to the center’s mission, sharing dinner with international figures and playing active roles in various center-related projects.

a Date on “Dateline”

For the past year, Carolyn Jenkins, an associate professor in the department of social work, collaborated with producers at “Dateline NBC” to create a special on Parental Alienation Syndrome. The theory states that in divorce cases where sexual abuse by the father is claimed, the sexual abuse actually does not happen but is a ploy by mothers who coach their children to cry abuse in an effort to obtain full custody.

Jenkins says that while there’s no research to validate this theory, the court often favors the fathers, despite the accusations by the children of abuse. Why? “I think it’s because judges and the court system in general don’t want to believe a parent would sexually abuse their own child,” she says.

A mother and daughter who went into hiding after the court threatened to return the girl to her abusive father got in touch with Jenkins. Jenkins called a friend who put her in touch with a “Dateline” producer. “This is a national problem,” Jenkins says.