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Education Had Lasting Influence on Life, Career

Leidals Knute Leidal knew he was in for a life-changing experience during his Introduction to Chemical Engineering course at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The instructor told the students they would flunk if they made a power of 10 mistake in homework, a quiz or an exam. "At the time, we used slide rules, not calculators, so you had to pay serious attention to the power of 10 and where the decimal belonged," Knute says. "RPI teaches you to be a problem-solver."

Knute graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1957 and went on to a successful career that began in Virginia at Merck & Co. He retired 15 years ago after almost 30 years of working, and then consulting, for Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey.

"I always felt I had an advantage in my career by having been educated at Rensselaer," he says. "I could see the capabilities of other graduates as I worked."

Estate Gift
Rensselaer’s lasting influence led Knute and his wife, Betty, to revise their wills in 2014 to include the school.

The decision to make an estate gift wasn’t difficult, Knute says. They have been annual donors to Rensselaer for over 50 years. He used to volunteer as a representative for RPI on college nights during the 1970s, and their younger son graduated from the school in 1985. "As Patroons, it seemed natural to extend our long-standing involvement with RPI."

Make a Lasting Gift
Rensselaer graduates have been applying science to the common purposes of life since 1824. You can partner with us in this timeless vision by making a gift through your estate. Please visit for suggested legal language.

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.