Gift Planning

Living Penn State

Penn State campus

Gift Planning

Living Penn State

Doris and Harry Oyler with Penn State mascot

The Oyler Family Scholarship Endowment honors Doris and Harry Oyler, longtime Penn State supporters.

When a family member once asked Harry Oyler '41 Bus how he wanted to be remembered, his response was quick and poignant: "I don't want to be remembered; I want to be here!"

And that is how Harry lived his life, fully committed to the things he held most dear: his lifelong community of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; the U.S. Navy, where he served as an executive officer during WWII; his devoted family; and his beloved alma mater.

Harry graduated from Penn State in 1941 with a degree in commerce and finance. He married his high school sweetheart, Doris Katherine Phillips, the following year and served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. When he returned from the war, Harry and Doris raised a family of five children, and Harry ran his own insurance agency in Chambersburg. But in the midst of a growing family and business, Harry never forgot about the University that he credited for his success.

"I don't think he expected to succeed so greatly in life. He was almost surprised by it," says Harry's daughter, Sue Smith '70 Lib. "I think he was just very proud, and he wanted to give back."

Over the years, Harry became deeply involved with Mont Alto, serving on the Penn State Mont Alto Advisory Board and forging close relationships with faculty and staff. Harry also supported Penn State Mont Alto philanthropically by establishing annual charitable gift annuities—one each year for 27 years. A lifelong investor, Harry held many appreciated stocks from early in his career, and he liked that gifting those securities to Penn State allowed him to reduce taxes on the appreciation, secure life income, and support future generations of Penn Staters.

"He was a lucky man, and he shared it," Sue says. "He didn't spend money on himself; he spent money on the things that made him happy—and Penn State made him very happy."

Doris passed away in 2016, and Harry passed away two years later at the age of 98. The Oyler Family Scholarship Endowment was established in Harry and Doris' honor with a gift of more than $300,000—the residuum of nearly three decades of charitable gift annuity contributions.

At Penn State, Harry is remembered as a dedicated alum, a loyal volunteer, and a selfless philanthropist. But he is also still here, as each year a cohort of Penn State Mont Alto students receives support from Harry and Doris—scholarships that open doors of opportunity during their years on campus and throughout their lives.

"Harry loved Penn State," Sue says. "I would even say he lived Penn State."

If you're interested in learning more about charitable gift annuities, please contact Michael J. Degenhart at 888-800-9170 (toll free) or

Ashlyn EllisI am honored to receive this scholarship. In addition to my nursing courses, I finished my EMT certificate and obtained a monitor technician job at Chambersburg Hospital. These would not have been possible without the resources [the Oyler Family Scholarship] has provided."
—Ashlyn Ellis, junior nursing student at Penn State Mont Alto and recipient of the Oyler Family Scholarship

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Penn State University 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 Penn State University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at c/o Office of Gift Planning, 212 The 103 Building, University Park, PA 16802, 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 Penn State 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 Penn State 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 Penn State 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 Penn State where you agree to make a gift to Penn State 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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