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Berkey advances agricultural education with IRA rollover gift

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From a small Michigan farm to Michigan State and beyond, Arthur Berkey (Agricultural Education, ’53; ’61; ’67) established a legacy in agricultural education through his career and now through an endowment at MSU.
 
            A nationally recognized leader in his field, Arthur has created and funded an endowment that will benefit a variety of agriculture and natural resources education initiatives in Michigan including secondary education programs. One of the initiatives will include mini-grants to high schools.
 
            An adept planner, Arthur created a long-term investment strategy that has allowed him to give back during his retirement. His use of the IRA rollover provision made it possible for him to direct $100,000 to MSU without income tax consequences. (See below for more information on the IRA rollover provision, available through December 31, 2009.)
 
            He turned to Eddie Moore, professor of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, for help in identifying MSU’s top priorities. The two men had developed a high degree of mutual respect and admiration for one another during their respective tenures as national presidents of their professional association, now called the American Association for Agricultural Education.
 
            Arthur’s passions for agriculture and natural resources, and helping others began early. He was one of six children raised on what he fondly refers to as “133 acres of Michigan sand.” He came to MSU on an undergraduate academic scholarship, but worked fulltime or nearly fulltime throughout his undergraduate years to not only cover other expenses but also to provide a cash foundation for his next sibling to attend MSU.
 
            Arthur also elected to participate in MSU’s ROTC program, serving honorably in Korea. He was admitted to the College of Veterinary Medicine and planned on becoming a large animal veterinarian, but a war injury closed that door. Undaunted, he turned to an innate knack for teaching and a lifelong interest in agriculture and natural resources, obtaining both master’s and doctoral degrees.
 
            He was an exceptional Michigan high school agriscience and natural resources education teacher, school principal, and MSU instructor and had an illustrious professorial career at Cornell University, noted Moore. Arthur also made time for his community, providing award-winning service to the Ithaca Board of Education and New York’s FFA Foundation Board. A building bears his name at the FFA Oswegatchie Education Center in New York.
 
            Arthur attributes much of his success to having a career he truly loved, something he feels MSU had a major role in helping him to attain. The endowment he established through his IRA rollover gift has allowed him to pass on that advantage to a new generation of students.
 
            “All of us here at MSU are indeed proud of the record of Dr. Berkey,” Moore said. “His gift will assist Michigan in moving to higher levels of academic excellence and this involves maintaining agriculture and natural resources secondary education programs, including FFA, of national prominence.”
 
            For more information on making a gift to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, contact Jackson Kaguri at (517) 355-0284. For details on the IRA rollover provision scheduled to end December 31, 2009, contact the MSU Office of Gift Planning at (517) 884-1000.
 
Charitable gifts from IRAs still available for 2009
 
The $700 billion economic rescue package of 2008 reinstated the IRA Rollover Provision charitable gift opportunity through December 31, 2009.  This allows the owner of a Roth or traditional IRA, providing he/she is at least 70 ½, to direct up to, but not to exceed, $100,000 ($200,000 for a couple with separate IRAs) directly to Michigan State University and/or other qualified charitable organizations.  MSU will immediately benefit from the IRA gift.  The owner of the IRA does not claim the charitable distribution from the IRA as ordinary income nor may the donor claim the distribution as a charitable deduction.  Effectively, there is no federal tax consequence.  For more information, contact the Development Office in your college at MSU, or the MSU Office of Gift Planning at (517) 884-1000.