Education and learning have always been important to Robert "Bob" Karl. He said, "The solid foundation that MSOE provided was paramount to the success of my career-but the real key was the ability to solve problems."
Karl graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. After graduation, he began his career at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He spent 12 years in engineering and 20 years in program management and control. "My largest role was leading the development and implementation of an integrated cost and schedule control system that was used on programs from less than $1 million to half a billion dollars in size."
As his career evolved, he recognized the need to keep reinventing himself to stay current with technology and the latest management trends. He earned an MBA and a master's degree in computer science from the University of Iowa.
The Fond du Lac, Wis., native was raised in a blue-collar family, and with five siblings, there was very little money available for higher education. Without the financial aid that MSOE provided Karl, he would have been unable to attend the university. Karl and his wife Lynda recently began examining their estate plan and have decided to pay it forward by funding student scholarships. "While we will leave money to other endeavors, I personally cannot think of a better way to use our residual funds than to give MSOE students the opportunities that I had."
When asked what he would say to other alumni who are considering making a financial contribution to MSOE, Karl said, "Giving is a very personal thing. I would not try to persuade someone else. However, I would ask them to consider what they have gained from attending MSOE and what opportunities were offered to them that they could now reciprocate."
His advice for current MSOE students is to "Have fun while you are in college but, do not squander your opportunity. It is important to you, the country and all of us. I know that sounds lame and cliché. But I believe every word of it."
Now that Karl has retired, he is looking forward to spending as much time as possible at his cabin on the Cedar River, and resuming the study and collection of antiques. One of his antique interests is his 35-year collection of butter prints which are on display in his cabin. In the 19th century, butter prints were used by farm families as an early form of advertising and branding for their butter. Karl said, "The best butter prints were hand carved by craftsman or the farmers themselves. At their best they are exquisite examples of folk art."
For more information about including MSOE in your estate planning, contact Ted Fitzpatrick, director of planned giving, at (414) 277-7148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.