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Couple Provides Life-Altering Opportunity for Engineering Major

Briana Earle

Briana Earle '13

The first time she stepped on the Rensselaer campus, Briana Earle '13 knew it was the place for her. Now a graduate with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a M.E. in Transportation Engineering, she's even more certain she made the right choice.

"I can't picture having gone anywhere else or having a better college experience," says Briana.

Briana was a recipient of the Martha and Clinton Thornton '33 Scholarship, established by the couple to support students enrolled in the school of engineering, where Clinton earned his civil engineering degree. The Thorntons endowed their scholarship through a gift in their will as well as a gift that paid income to them during their lifetimes.

Briana graduated on May 25, 2013, and will begin working at Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She is grateful to the Thornton’s for their financial assistance, which enabled her to attend the university of her choice and obtain her undergraduate and graduate degrees without the burden of immense student loans.

Inspired by Donors' Graciousness
Knowing that someone helped fund her education, Briana feels a sense of responsibility to her benefactors. "I want to do well. They made it possible for me to come to Rensselaer and succeed and have a career that I love," she explains.

Briana's accomplishments at Rensselaer are a reflection of her convictions. She was a member of the field hockey team, the Chi Epsilon Honor Society and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and she was on the dean's list each semester, as well as named to the Liberty League All-Academic Team and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association National Academic Squad for four consecutive years.

Briana understands the importance of giving back so others can benefit from an education at Rensselaer.

"If I could speak with the Thorntons, I'd tell them how much I appreciate their making it possible for me to go to Rensselaer and how much it has meant to me to have the same good experience here that they must have had."

How You Can Help
Rensselaer students like Briana are as talented and promising as ever, but most come with great financial need. You can help make a Rensselaer education possible by instituting a legacy gift through your estate like Martha and Clinton Thornton did. These gifts won't cost you anything—and may even increase your income—during your lifetime. Please contact Arthur T. Tracy at or 518-276-2561 for more information.

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 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 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 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 110 8th St., Troy, NY 12180-3590, 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 Rensselaer 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 Rensselaer 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 Rensselaer 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 Rensselaer where you agree to make a gift to Rensselaer 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.