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Davison Gift Supports Agnes McCann Legacy

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The impetus for giving often comes from early experiences. For Sam Davison (Engineering, ’53), Agnes McCann, an MSU staff member, provided the motivation to support Michigan State University. As secretary to the dean of the College of Engineering from 1917 to 1962, McCann worked with literally thousands of students over the years. She not only provided general support and motherly advice when students questioned whether they could survive the rigorous curriculum, but also offered advice on which classes to take when. “I owe her a big thanks,” Davison said.
Like many college students, Davison took a while to choose a major. It wasn’t until the beginning of his junior year that he decided on mechanical engineering. He was fortunate to also be employed as a student worker for McCann at that time. “I had a lot of credits, but not enough in engineering. When I was at MSU, we could pre-register. She (McCann) gave me the optimum classes,” Davison said.
Because of McCann’s help, and Davison’s hard work, he became a maintenance test pilot in the Air Force and went on to become a chief engineer at General Electric (GE), designing many different types of engines for 37 years. His accomplishments earned him a place in the GE Propulsion Hall of Fame for his design work on the CFM 56 Engine.
Upon exploring the idea of supporting Michigan State University, Davison was pleased to learn of the existing Agnes McCann Memorial Student Endowment, which pays tribute to her legacy. The endowment provides critical support for undergraduate activities in the College of Engineering, including academic initiatives, student programs and tuition support. As with all endowments, the principal of the gift is continually preserved and a percentage of the interest income is spent annually.
Davison considered several different gift vehicles, but found that a charitable gift annuity (CGA) was the right choice for him. In Davison’s case, the benefit of the CGA included receiving a fixed and guaranteed income for life—a portion of which is tax free. He also received a sizable charitable tax deduction he may claim on his federal tax return.  
A charitable gift annuity is among the easiest and most popular methods for providing a future gift to MSU. In exchange for a transfer of cash or marketable securities, the MSU Foundation will contractually agree to pay a fixed and guaranteed stream of lifetime income to you and/or another annuitant. The annuity rate depends solely on the age of the annuitant(s). At the death of the annuitant or surviving annuitant, MSU receives the remainder of the gift annuity to use in the manner designated by the annuitant(s) at the time the original gift was made.
The minimum amount to establish a CGA is $10,000. All gift annuity contracts are guaranteed by over $400 million of unrestricted assets of the MSU Foundation.
In addition to a fixed and guaranteed income for life, the federal government allows you to claim an income tax deduction for that part of the transfer which represents the charitable gift component. Often a higher rate of return exists on charitable gift annuities than from existing fixed income investment vehicles.
            The College of Engineering was delighted to learn of another graduate’s appreciation for Agnes McCann with a gift to the endowment that honors her. Dean Satish Udpa remarked, “Agnes McCann was unforgettable to the students and staff who were privileged to have known her. She touched many lives and we are pleased that Sam Davison chose to pay tribute to her dedicated service with his gift.”
For more information on establishing a charitable gift annuity, contact the MSU Office of Gift Planning at (517) 884-1000. For more information on the Agnes McCann Memorial Student Endowment or to support the MSU College of Engineering, contact Senior Director of Development Stephen Bates at (517) 355-8339.