A Gift Nearly 70 Years in the Making
Even as a young man it seemed that Robert "Bob" Lyons '50 was destined to fly, going above and beyond in whatever he endeavored.
Bob was the fourth of six children in his family. It was the Great Depression and none of his three older siblings had gone to college, so he was very surprised to learn that his math teacher had given his name to Rensselaer as a prospective student. Bob had never heard of Rensselaer at the time, but he decided to apply and was accepted.
During his second year at Rensselaer, Bob was drafted into the armed forces and became part of a B-20 bomber crew that flew several 14-hour nighttime missions over Japan during WWII.
After the war, Bob returned stateside and graduated from Rensselaer in January 1950 with a B.S. in Management Engineering. He joined Bilco, his father's manufacturing business, where he devised product improvements and designed new products that helped the company become well known in the architectural and building construction field. Bob eventually retired as chairman of the board.
"I've always felt my Rensselaer education was responsible for my ability to design and develop helpful products, to create a successful business and to enjoy a wonderful life," Bob says.
Nearly 70 years later, Bob's Rensselaer experience remains pivotal in his life, and he is forever grateful.
"It really affected my entire life," he says.
As thanks for this life-changing education, and wanting to open similar doors of opportunity, Bob recently created the Ann and Robert J. Lyons '50 Scholarship for Rensselaer engineering students. "It was very easy," Bob says of the entire process.
Working with Art Tracy, Rensselaer's director of gift planning, Bob established the scholarship by taking advantage of the IRA charitable rollover, a qualified charitable distribution of IRA funds. He also used appreciated stocks to fund a charitable gift annuity (CGA).
A CGA offers benefits for both parties, as Rensselaer will make fixed payments to Bob and his wife for life and add the remainder to their scholarship fund.