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Loyal Alumni Pay It Forward

Mandy Watson

Mandy Watson ’01

Mandy Watson ’01 often wanted to hit the snooze button, sleep in and skip her 8 a.m. class.

She never did.

“I had a lot of fun at Wesleyan—don’t get me wrong—but I got up to go to class every day because I felt like I wasn’t in it alone,” Mandy said 20 years after graduating from IWU. “I wanted to make worthwhile the investment I felt people had put into me.”

Like 95% of IWU students today,Mandy arrived on campus with a financial aid package. She was the recipient of a State Farm Foundation Scholarship and, as a senior, became the first-ever recipient of the Bruce Callis Endowed Scholarship.

Founded by the Callis family to honor their late family patriarch, a successful State Farm executive and member of the Illinois Wesleyan Associates, the Callis Endowed Scholarship was—and remains—designated with preference for a student from McLean County with financial need.

A graduate of Normal (Illinois) Community High School, Mandy fit the bill.

“Those were the parameters we asked the University to look at in awarding the scholarship,” said Kevin Callis ’85, one of three siblings to attend IWU. “And Mandy was a great first recipient.”

Fast forward 20 years and Mandy has a successful career as a corporate counsel at Caterpillar Inc. She’s still appreciative of the financial support she received as a student at IWU and, in 2019, decided to pay it forward by funding the Watson Annual Scholarship.

“I’m at a position now where I can do such a thing,” Mandy said. “I want others to have the experience I had and grow their opportunities in life.”

Kevin Callis

Kevin Callis ’85

Nobody could be happier with Mandy’s decision than the Callis family.

“I know Dad would be pleased,” Kevin said. “My mother, Nancy, is thrilled to know that not only does our scholarship continue to have an impact and help someone, but that it has now inspired someone to help another.”

Kevin said he hopes others will consider doing the same.

“We should all pause and think about what was special about our time at Wesleyan and remind ourselves what it means to where we are today and how it helped enable our success,” he said. “And then we should think about the opportunities we have to share that with another, to put someone else in those special moments—perhaps someone who might not make it if not for a little help—and then take time to act, reach out and learn about opportunities to do that.”

Create Opportunities for Success

You can create life-changing opportunities—and inspire others to pay it forward—through a gift to IWU in your estate plan. To learn about your giving options, contact Steve Seibring '81 at 309-556-3135 or today.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Illinois Wesleyan 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

Bequest Language

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Illinois Wesleyan University [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 IWU 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 IWU 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 IWU 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 IWU where you agree to make a gift to IWU 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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