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Why I Give: An Interview with Mike Southard

Mike Southard

Name: Mike Southard '82
Major: Double major in business management and accounting
Current Profession: National sales manager for the landscape lighting division of Kichler Lighting.

When it came time for Mike Southard to attend college, he looked at schools close to his hometown in Cleveland, but also all along the East Coast. He stopped by The University of Tampa while visiting a relative and fell in love with the campus. Now, 26 years later, UT has truly become a family affair.

What is your family history with the University?
I attended UT from 1978 to 1982, and that's where I met my wife, Amy, who attended from 1979 to 1981. Now, our daughter, Ashley, has chosen to follow in our footsteps and just completed her freshman year at The University of Tampa.

Did you and Amy have anything to do with Ashley attending UT?
Ashley was considering schools of between 6,000 and 10,000 students, so I urged her to visit the University. Though she was accepted at Butler, Purdue and other schools, she chose UT because it had the degree program she was interested in (international business). Interestingly enough, she has since changed her major to art therapy, and I understand The University of Tampa is one of only a handful of schools in the country that offer that major.

What does it mean to have your daughter at your alma mater?
It means so much to me to have Ashley at UT. Amy and I both have so many fond memories of UT, and we are very happy that we get to go back and visit campus on a regular basis. The campus is almost unrecognizable compared to when we were there in the early 1980s.

What were you involved in at UT?
I was a founding father of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon and served as treasurer. I was also very active in and an officer of the international business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and a member of the accounting club. When I wasn't planning or attending events for my fraternities, I could be found at the Rathskellar. In fact, my good friend John Lowth introduced me to Amy one night at the Rat.

Most memorable professor?
The small class sizes made it possible for me to really get to know many of my professors on a personal basis. My favorite professors were Mickey Perlow and Karen Squires. They were instrumental in my accounting education and, like most of my professors at UT, had real-world experience. Karen was a very good professor and became a mentor and friend.

I also landed my first job in finance thanks to Glen Runyon, who was working in Miami and teaching part time as an adjunct professor at UT.

Why do you support UT?
Amy and I support UT because we have been successful in our lives, and a big part of that success can be attributed to our education at UT. I believe it's very important to give back to the community, and for that reason, we not only support UT annually, but also have included UT in our estate plans.

I think it is important for all alumni to give back, especially if they had the type of experience that we had. The more each alumnus gives back, the better the University does, and, ultimately, this benefits everyone involved. For example, Ashley is now benefiting from past donations from generous alumni and local philanthropists. I hope our support will do the same for future students of the University.

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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