Skip to Content

The Gift of Opportunity: Educator Helps Talented Students Through Estate Gift

Richard Haskell

Richard E. Haskell, Ph.D.

When Richard E. Haskell, Ph.D., was growing up in rural New Hampshire in the 1940s and '50s, he had plenty of ambition and talent. As the son of a late minister and a schoolteacher, however, there was one thing he lacked.

"We had no money," he says. "I'd decided I wanted to go to RPI, but when I went to the admissions office, they told me I was too poor!"

Being a resourceful country boy, Richard didn't back down easily. "I was determined to go anyway, so I said, ‘What can you do for me?'"

He finagled a tuition-only scholarship—and rolled up his sleeves. "I worked in the summer and scraped around for room and board for the first year," he recalls. "I did well, so in my sophomore year I received a General Motors scholarship that covered not only tuition, but also some room and board."

Richard continued to do well, graduating with his B.E.E. in 1960 and his Ph.D. in 1963—and co-authoring a textbook on plasma dynamics during his stay. Prepped for a lucrative career, Richard instead opted to head into education, helping create the engineering school at Oakland University in Michigan.

"I always had this knack for explaining things to people," he reflects. A couple of sabbaticals notwithstanding—including one at NASA during the year of the last moon flight—Richard remained an educator for the next five decades.

He always knew that one day he would want to enable other talent-rich, cash-poor students to attend his alma mater, which is why he has set up the Edith and Richard Haskell '60 Scholarship, an endowed fund to be fully funded through his will.

"All the things I've done in my career have been made possible by my education at RPI. I wanted to make sure that opportunity is available to other students," he says now. "It was a natural thing for me to do."

Make Your Mark
If you would like to make an impact on Rensselaer students through your estate plans, contact Art Tracy '92 MS at 518-276-2561 or"> today.

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.