Class of 1930 Graduate Still Supports, Celebrates Her Alma Mater

Margaret Shuler Wyckoff playing pianoSome people have it all, and some people appreciate what they have. Margaret Shuler Wyckoff, Class of 1930, is one of the latter. As one of those special few who truly know how to make the most of what life has offered to her, she has been able to enrich the lives of countless students.

Mrs. Wyckoff was born in 1909, the oldest of four children, and at age 6 developed an appreciation of music that stays with her today. As a youngster, Mrs. Wyckoff displayed talent as a vocalist but had a greater love for the piano.

Tragedy struck in 1919 when Mrs. Wyckoff 's mother died. Her father left a job, which required a great deal of travel and relocated the family from Canada to a farm in the United States. By doing so, he knew food would be plentiful and he could stay close to home and be with his children. They S were not rich, Mrs. Wyckoff remembers, but they certainly never considered themselves poor because they had each other.

Although rich with music in her home, Mrs. Wyckoff 's dream for a piano was unfulfilled. Undeterred, she found herself a long wooden board, painted it black, sketched in the appropriate keys and used one of her mother's old music books to teach herself how to play the instrument without the benefit of sound. It was not until she visited her grandfather, who had an organ, that Mrs. Wyckoff ever tried her technique on a working keyboard. She was thrilled to find that "Aura Lee" sounded just as she thought it would.

Mrs. Wyckoff dreamed of teaching music and worked to achieve her goal at the Fredonia Normal School. She arrived as a teenager with $6 to her name, but like many students during the Depression, she worked and borrowed to pay tuition and eventually earned her music education certificate. She is believed to be the oldest living music alumna of the Class of 1930.

Mrs. Wyckoff continued with voice and piano studies in Ithaca and California. She taught in Interlaken, N.Y., and New Jersey, and she was a music supervisor in Cayuga County, N.Y.

Although she eventually closed her formal teaching career, Mrs. Wyckoff never retired, and, according to her, probably never will. Her life is full; this active nonagenarian still plays piano and solves crossword puzzles—two tasks to which she attributes her long life—and is even writing her autobiography.

Mrs. Wyckoff has been a generous donor to the university, with gifts dating back as far as institutional records stretch. In 2001, she established the Margaret Shuler Wyckoff Scholarship for music education students, and she is tickled to hear from young teachers in training, who, like her at that age, can use a little help to finance their education.

"It is my wish to see this fund grow and produce enough interest to give annual tuition scholarships to worthy music students," Mrs. Wyckoff says. "Having been a recipient of financial assistance during my years as a music student, I wish very much to return to others the same invaluable assistance given to me. I have always been proud to be an alumna of Fredonia."

Mrs. Wyckoff has included the university in her will to support the scholarship she has endowed. As a member of the Dallas K. Beal Legacy Society, she will perpetuate her legacy at Fredonia for generations to come.

"I feel sincere gratitude always to Fredonia and the wonderful people for giving me such a fine education and training for a successful happy life," she says.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Fredonia College 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 Fredonia College Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Fredonia, NY, 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 Fredonia 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 Fredonia 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 Fredonia 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 Fredonia where you agree to make a gift to Fredonia 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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