Although it's been awhile since Don Backys '67, P.E. has set foot in an MSOE classroom, the electrical engineering graduate never lost his connection with, or love of, MSOE. While pursuing a career in communications electronics at Motorola, Backys served on the ECET industrial advisory board for more than 20 years and received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1982.
He credits his MSOE education for opening doors he never thought possible. "When I went to MSOE I was gathering keys on a key ring, although at the time I didn't realize it. Those keys opened doors for me that I didn't even see or realize existed. When I look back over my 40-year career, the projects I worked on, people I met and places I went would have never been possible had I NOT gotten that BSEE degree from MSOE. While managing my own engineering consulting business during the last years of my professional career the final door opened, I was elevated to Fellow in the Radio Club of America."
In addition to contributing to MSOE's Annual Fund, Backys had earmarked funds in his will for his wife Ann to set up a scholarship upon his death. "After some discussion we decided to set up an endowed scholarship now, rather than waiting," said Backys. "Why not set up a scholarship fund now so I can actually meet the students I'm helping? Scott Weaver [MSOE's director of planned giving] did a great job talking me through the process, and setting up an endowed scholarship fund was a lot easier than I thought."
An endowed scholarship serves as the perfect giving vehicle for Backys. Not only does he get to meet the students he's helping, it's financially beneficial too. "After meeting with our financial advisor and Scott Weaver, we decided to take the money out of my IRA. That way the money is transferred as a gift to MSOE with no tax impact." In addition, Backys can make future contributions to the scholarship if he wants. "With each passing year I can contribute additional funds. A percentage of the interest goes back to the scholarship base so it grows with time while it's paying out scholarships. By the time I pass, it could become quite a substantial scholarship fund. I am feeling proud to be part of the MSOE family."
For Backys, starting the endowed scholarship was more than just a financial decision. "Nobody can put a price on the happiness I'm getting today, knowing that some young men and women who really need it will get that money. It's my way of giving back to the engineering community; something I wanted to do for a long time. Thank you, MSOE, for helping me open so many doors."
For more information about including MSOE in your estate planning, contact Jonathan Kowalski, JD, director of planned giving, at (414) 277-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.