Spring 2016

alumni_giftValdemar “Val” Olson, ’64 MBA, and his late wife, Marilyn, have been wonderful U of M alumni and philanthropists to higher education. Through their steadfast giving to the Carlson School, the U’s College of Education and Human Development, and Val’s undergraduate alma mater, Concordia College, they have endowed scholarship funds for the benefit of undergraduate students. As part of their ongoing support, Val made a gift via his IRA for his two University of Minnesota scholarships.

“My wife of 51 years, Marilyn, and I were fortunate enough some years ago to be able to begin doing charitable giving,” Val says. “Education was important to both of us, so we decided to make funding education a significant part of our charitable giving.”

Marilyn had earned a BS and MA from the University’s College of Education and was an elementary teacher and curriculum developer in the Minneapolis and Edina school systems for 33 years. After receiving a BA from Concordia College in Moorhead, Val received an MBA in finance from the U’s business school, prior to it being named the Carlson School of Management. Later, their daughter, Kristen, also earned an MBA from the Carlson School.

“We decided to establish scholarships at both the Carlson School and the College of Education and Human Development,” Val says. The Marilyn Nordstrom Olson and Valdemar Olson Scholarship at the CEHD is for students who intend to teach languages and cultures. The Valdemar and Marilyn Olson Undergraduate Scholarship helps the Carlson School recruit and retain top freshmen, especially those who have expressed interest in international business. More than 20 Carlson School students have received this scholarship. Marilyn passed away in 2009, but Val continues to add to their scholarships. Additional amounts are designated in his will.

For a number of years, the Olsons made direct contributions to add to both of these scholarship funds. “When Congress revised the tax laws one year to permit transfers directly from an IRA to charities, we took advantage of that,” Olson says. “However, it wasn’t always easy, because Congress did not make the change permanent and instead ended up renewing that provision year by year—usually very late in the year. Now it is finally permanent.”

In December of last year, President Obama signed into law legislation retroactively extending the charitable IRA rollover for 2015 and making this provision permanent for future years. For those aged 70 and a half and older, it is possible to make charitable gifts of up to $100,000 directly from traditional and Roth IRA accounts to one or more qualified charities, without paying federal income tax on the withdrawal.

For more information on making a gift to the University from an IRA, contact University of Minnesota Foundation Senior Planned Giving Officer Susan Hommes at 612-624-8800 or shommes@umn.edu.


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