Unusual Major Gifts

Unusual Major Gifts: 'everyone wins'

G.D. McSpadden didn't graduate from Southwestern College. In fact, he never attended classes on the hill, although he has lived in Winfield for half a century.

Keith Dial did attend Southwestern, and ran on its championship cross-country team, but when he dropped out after two years, he never returned to finish a degree.

This spring, though, both McSpadden and Dial made gifts that will benefit Southwestern College for decades to come-and neither gift involved cash.

Southwestern College has received a unitrust gift worth more than $500,000 from G.D. and Sula McSpadden, and has become the beneficiary of Keith Dial's $1.5 million life insurance policy. The gifts, while unusual in size, represent the varied ways friends and alumni are supporting Southwestern.

So why Southwestern? And why these methods of giving? The McSpadden family and Keith Dial both point to a long-term relationship with the college, and to their belief in its purpose, as factors in their decisions.

Although he had attended Wichita University and graduated from Washburn University and Washburn University School of Law, G.D. McSpadden sometimes regretted he hadn't attended Southwestern, says his son, Steve. In fact, in 1950 Gerald chose Winfield as a site to open his law practice largely so he could watch Southwestern basketball, Steve claims.

"I can probably count on one hand the number of games he's missed since 1950," Steve says. "I recall many family events that were planned around Southwestern College basketball." Basketball wasn't the only family tie to the school, though. Sula McSpadden's father, A. Y. Wells, was a practicing physician and surgeon in Winfield for more than 30 years. When Southwestern College took over the nursing program that had been run by St. John's College, the McSpaddens supported the new department with a gift, continuing their commitment to the community's health care. And their interest continued as son Steve served 13 years on the Board of Trustees, completing his service this spring after a three-year stint as board chair.

When the elder McSpadden (now retired from a distinguished career in law and banking) decided to finalize his estate planning, he realized that a straight cash gift might not be in the best interest of the school or of his family.

Instead, McSpadden and estate planner John Griffin worked out a unitrust. The results, according to Steve? "Everyone wins except the government."

The unitrust transferred to the school bank stock that would have required substantial capital gains taxes had it been ransferred to heirs. The college then sold the stock and invested the proceeds, with the interest from the investments returning to the McSpaddens to be used for their own living expenses and life insurance premiums.

The benefits, Steve points out, included: 1) a tax deduction and a life income for the McSpaddens, plus 2) an insurance pay-off for their children that (because of the tax benefits) is equal to what would have been possible without the gift, and 3) a gift of the unitrust principal to Southwestern College. The only decrease is in the amount of taxes paid, he reiterates.

So why isn't a unitrust a more common gift vehicle? Steve speculates that many donors simply aren't aware this option exists. It's also slightly more complicated ("It's not as straightforward as writing a check," he says). Resources available through the college, though, can smooth the process.

Paul Bean, Southwestern's vice president for institutional advancement, served as a bank trust officer before joining the SC staff and is eminently qualified to suggest trust options. For more intricate arrangements, the services of estate planning specialist John Griffin are available at no charge to alumni and friends of the college.

Keith Dial's unusual contribution to the college began to take shape in the early months of 1999, when he and his partner sold their highly-successful business.

Keith, 53, is quick to point out that he didn't graduate from Southwestern College, "but did Southwestern College make me what I am today? Yes." His two years at the college, under the tutelage of such professors as Warren Wooldridge, taught him that "I can be anything I want to be. And J.C. Witter taught me I can be better than I think I can be."

His family heritage was strong at the college, with Rev. Bill Dial (his father) graduating in 1949; a sister, Jolene Dial Davis, in 1969, and another sister, Jeanette Dial Kuhns, in 1972. His twin, Craig, also began college at Southwestern but left to serve in Vietnam.

But Keith didn't have a goal for his SC years, he recalls, so he decided to quit college in 1966. He was immediately drafted.

Dial spent six years in the Army, including two years' service in Taiwan and one in Vietnam. He left the military as an intelligence analyst and specialist in Mandarin Chinese, and with a determination to start his own business before he was 30 years old.

The result, Air Capitol Plating, became an exemplary Wichita small business. Following standard business practice, Dial and his business partner each had $1.5 million life insurance policies. When they sold the business in January of 1999, Dial was in a position to benefit the college that had been so much a part of his life.

"God put me in a place to make money, but money is not supposed to be a method for measuring myself," he emphasizes. "You've got to find something to support, and being a preacher's kid, I thought it ought to be a Methodist institution."

So Dial, a trustee of Southwestern College, and his wife, Joyce, made the college the owner and beneficiary of the life insurance policy. They also make an annual gift to the college that equals or exceeds the premium payment on the policy. This enables them to take a tax deduction for the cash value of the policy as well as to deduct future gifts to the college that enable the policy to remain active.

How do his children feel about this gift? Keith laughs when he answers. "They expected it of me. I have always believed that God works through us, not for us, so the tax deduction is not the determination factor. A few years back, I really wanted a new convertible, so I bought one. But until I gave a gift in the same amount to my church, I couldn't drive it."

"I want to help make sure Southwestern College is always here, and able to shape people's lives, whether they graduate or not," he adds.

Now Dial is consulting with other small businesses, and is CEO of a new group in Olathe that combines baseball and technology.

Two donors, two unusual giving tools. And Southwestern College is the beneficiary of both.



  • Earl Spidel is wrapping up more than three decades of service to Southwestern, and the college thanked him by presenting him an honorary doctor of business administration. The tribute to Spidel came during annual Founders Day festivities. More than 120 friends of the college gathered March 11 for the banquet and celebration. Along with the ceremonial "hooding" came announcement by President Dick Merriman of the establishment of the Earl and Jo Spidel Scholarship fund.

    During his three decades at Southwestern, Spidel served in positions including vice president for business affairs, director of college advancement, and (most recently) director of planned giving and special gifts.

    Presenters also paid tribute to Jo Spidel, Earl's wife of nearly 50 years, who died following a brief illness in January 1998. A longtime educator, Jo frequently accompanied Earl on visits to donors.

    Earl noted that he had been at the college during the tenure of six presidents, and of five vice presidents for institutional advancement or development.

    During retirement, he has said, he plans to spend time with his family, including son Tom, daughter Barbara and Neal Smith, and grandsons Nicholas and Lucas, and daughter, Jean and Deron Brink, Formia, Italy.

  • Marvin Hafenstein, whose entrepreneurial spirit and third-career enthusiasm helped make Southwestern College's Professional Studies Centers a leader in regional adult education, has announced his retirement.

    Hafenstein was honored by PSC alumni and staff during a gathering at the Wichita East center March 10.

    President Emeritus Carl E. Martin hired Hafenstein a decade ago to build the new program from the ground up. "At the point of his life that he came to Southwestern, Marvin was risking a lot to do that," Martin points out. "But there are people who talk, and there are people who do, and Marvin is definitely a do-er."

    Martin compares Hafenstein to preachers in the early Wesleyan tradition, who took their message to the streets and fields. "Marvin embodied that spirit because he took the educational process to the adult learner where it was most needed," Martin adds. "He really embodied the SC vision component of lifetime learning and career preparation in a remarkable way."

    In the decade Hafenstein has headed the PSC programs, it has grown to three sites with more than 500 enrollments in Winfield and Wichita.

    Hafenstein and his wife, Joanne, have purchased a camper and plan to begin retirement by traveling to Alaska.

  • For half a century, the sound of education for generations of Southwestern students has been the thundering chords of "Lift the Chorus" played on the great Sonner-Stanford pipe organ in Richardson Auditorium. And for four decades, these chords have been generated by Jim Strand, professor of music.

    Strand retired at the end of the spring semester, closing his tenure at Southwestern College with what he laughingly called his senior recital.

    A few weeks later Strand was the guest of honor as his former students (now professional organists) played one final time for their professor: Jolene Dial Davis '69, Athens, Ga.; Jean Miles Price '67, Anaheim, Calif.; Alan Malaby '71, Wichita; and Burton Tidwell, Marion. Then Jim and Carlyn Strand's sons took the stage. Eric Strand '87, Kalamazoo, Mich., and Jon Strand, Natick Mass., finished the program with trumpet and organ music.

    Strand, obviously delighted by the program, closed the recital. "This has been great-I think every couple of years from now on, I'll retire," he said to the laughter of the audience.

    Then, once more, he played the famous Widor toccata that has become his trademark, and his final recital as an active professor was over.