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KSU Foundation

Cornerstone of success

Estate plan invests in engineering education innovation

An innovative program in the College of Engineering inspired one K-State graduate to include a gift in his estate plan to support computer science students.

Mark Schonhoff ’88, a retired vice president for Cerner Corporation, knew early in his high school years that he wanted to study computer science at K-State. Attending K-State basketball games with friends and family only solidified his interest in the university and his desire to learn here. Once enrolled at K-State, Schonhoff ’s passion for our school grew as he met influential professors who helped him succeed.

Schonhoff chose to invest in the college’s new Cornerstone Teaching Scholars program because he appreciated the strong start the K-State faculty provided him. Schonhoff was able to offer this investment as a gift in his will; an estate gift which allows him to retain control of the assets during his lifetime.

“I really valued the education I received at K-State and appreciated the professors I had,” Schonhoff said. “As I became increasingly successful in my career, I wanted to give back to K-State through a program that recognized the importance of good professors.”

Cornerstone Teaching Scholars provides faculty awards to encourage the best engineering instructors and professors who teach sophomore- and junior-level courses. By connecting with the strongest teachers early in their education, students are statistically more likely to stay in school and graduate.

The program was originally launched in honor of Ike Evans, class of ’65, and his wife, Letty, who decided to include a gift to support faculty in their wills.

“Professors were genuinely interested in me and wanted me to be successful,” said Evans, who recently retired as CEO of Meritor. “The professors didn’t make it easy, but I thought they genuinely wanted us to succeed. You knew they cared.”

Though still in its early stages, Cornerstone Teaching Scholars has already made a difference in the college. Dr. J. Kenneth Shultis, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, was recently named the first recipient of the Ike and Letty Evans Cornerstone Teaching Scholars Award.

Shultis directs the nuclear engineering program at K-State, where he brings tremendous knowledge and opportunity to young engineering students.

“What motivates me is helping the young students to see the big picture as they struggle with the minutiae of a particular subject,” Shultis said. “Instilling excitement in beginning students as they learn is the hallmark of an effective teacher.”

Through innovative programs like Cornerstone Teaching Scholars and support from generous K-State alumni and friends, the College of Engineering is improving the educational experience and advancing Kansas State University.

To learn more about including a gift in your will to support K-State, contact the Gift Planning team at 785-532-6266 or

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the KSU Foundation 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 to the KSU Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Manhattan, KS, or its successor thereto, ______________* [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 K-State 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 K-State 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 K-State 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 K-State where you agree to make a gift to K-State 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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.