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A Love for Education

Nicole Rodriguez-LamasThough Nicole Rodriguez-Lamas '15 is far from her home in San Jose, Costa Rica, she doesn't miss her two sisters. But not because the three aren't close.

Rodriguez-Lamas came to UT the fall after her older sister, Cassandra '11, graduated from the University. (Cassandra is now an MBA student at UT.) Her younger sister, Bianca '17, soon followed in their footsteps. Incidentally, their mother, Shaunaley (Bell) Rodriguez-Lamas '86, also attended UT.

"Even though we all live in different dorms, we see each other often," says Rodriguez-Lamas. "Sometimes we grab lunch together or go out on the weekends."

Rodriguez-Lamas is an elementary education major with a particular love for kindergarten through second grade. She explains how she has always wanted to be a teacher, even though the profession is neither well-paid nor well-respected in Costa Rica.

Diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia in middle school, she says her mother sought out special education to help her succeed. Rodriguez-Lamas says she hopes to one day provide the same kind of help to other students struggling with learning disabilities.

She keeps herself busy at UT. She works for the information technology department as a computer lab supervisor. She currently oversees her younger sister, who is a lab assistant. (Their older sister also worked as a lab assistant as an undergraduate.)

For the last two years, she has served as a Gateways mentor, a demanding position that requires office hours, attending the Gateways class and meetings.

She was recently elected historian for the UT chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honors society. Off-campus, she tutors five children, ranging in age from 4 to 10, in Spanish.

As she rattles off this impressive list of co-curricular activities, fellow students walk by. Every few minutes she waves to someone, a big grin on her face, at home in her surroundings.

"I love being here on campus. There is always something going on," she says. Rodriguez-Lamas remembers visiting her older sister twice, leaving her with a familiarity that just felt right. "My parents always told us to go anywhere we wanted, and they'd find a way to pay for it."

As part of her financial aid package, Rodriguez-Lamas receives the Latinos Unidos Scholarship, an endowed scholarship established by the City of Tampa Mayor's Hispanic Advisory Council. Rodriguez-Lamas is grateful for the scholarship funds and each year attends the Latinos Unidos Scholarship Luncheon to thank the donors who made this scholarship possible.

She said she was fortunate she came to UT knowing what she wanted to major in, as the education major is extremely demanding.

"Once you start the program, there is no room for other classes," she says. She had to drop her business administration minor to accommodate the demanding schedule.

She cites Edward Cloutier, associate professor of education, as a particularly inspiring professor.

"His was my first education class," she says. "It's the way he presents the material. He has such a love for education. He inspires you to want to be the best teacher you can be."

When she graduates next spring, Rodriguez-Lamas plans to stay in the U.S. (she is a U.S. citizen through her mother) and teach in the Hillsborough County School district. She wants to work for a couple of years and then perhaps pursue a master's degree — maybe one day open that center for children with learning disabilities.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The University of Tampa 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

Bequest Language

The official legal bequest language for The University of Tampa is: "I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to The University of Tampa [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 The University of Tampa 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 The University of Tampa as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 The University of Tampa 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 The University of Tampa where you agree to make a gift to The University of Tampa 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.

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