Supporters Like You

Photo: David Schmitz

Nicholas Taddeo Jr., ’69

“By designating SJSU as a beneficiary of my estate, I am creating something with societal impact. My hope is that I can have some small effect steering the ship of software development toward a more inclusive future.”

Mark and Kathy Loveless

“San Jose State gave us a good life and we wanted to aid those who have done service for our country and now need help continuing their studies so they can go on to be productive citizens,” says Kathy.

Richard Sessions

“The best way to get started with giving is to meet with the people in University Advancement,” he says. “They provide excellent advice on the best approach to helping students while meeting your giving goals.”

Gary and Eileen Ruppel

“We can gain satisfaction in supporting education, which is something we are passionate about. I received a quality education from SJSU at a bargain price, which contributed greatly to the success I achieved in my career. This gift gives us much personal satisfaction.”

Joe Thomas

“Getting reconnected to San Jose State as a donor has exceeded my expectations,” he says. “I only wish I had done this years ago.”

Donn Burch

“I am proud that my education provided me with a life where I am now able to give back,” he says.

Professor Christian Jochim

“Most gift planning options do not provide tax advantages while you’re living, so charitable gift annuities are unique. I’m giving the gift while I’m living and receiving the benefits today. SJSU will also get a nice gift when I pass on.”

Steve and Cheryl Caplan

“With our hearts full of appreciation, our contribution acknowledges the gift of education we received as young adults,” says Steve, ’65 Industrial Management. “We hope these gifts will enable San Jose State to continue its good work for future generations of students and student-athletes.”

Janice and Ron Dong

“I hope that our gift will help kids go to college—and I hope that San Jose State will have enough support to make them successful,” says Janice, ’64 Elementary Education.

Jim and Louise Dunaway

“No one ever achieves anything entirely by themselves. I always felt if there were some opportunity for us to provide help to somebody else, I would like us to do it.”

Ruth Yaffe

“With my charitable remainder trust, I receive payments from the trust for the rest of my life—after which point the university receives the remainder to fund scholarships forever. A win-win situation,” she says.

Fernando Zazueta

“There’s a reason schools are called ‘alma maters,’” says Zazueta, ’62 Business and Industrial Management. “‘Alma’ means soul and ‘mater’ means mother. I have a great appreciation for the education I received at San Jose State.”

Benton White and Mary Lou Bloomberg

“The religious studies program was an important part of why I wanted to leave money to the library,” says White. “SJSU was my life for decades and it’s a wonderful university.”
Nicholas Taddeo Jr.

Michelle Sandler and Robert Altman: King Library Support

Michelle G. Sandler feels most at home in a library–surrounded by well-organized information accessible to others.

“I spent most of my life living in libraries, whether I was working in them or not,” says Sandler, ’93 MLIS. “I really liked library school.” Sandler described the feeling of building up a library collection as “euphoria.”

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Michelle G. Sandler feels most at home in a library–surrounded by well-organized information accessible to others.

“I spent most of my life living in libraries, whether I was working in them or not,” says Sandler, ’93 MLIS. “I really liked library school.” Sandler described the feeling of building up a library collection as “euphoria.”

Sandler and her husband Robert D. Altman made SJSU the recipient of a gift for $250,000 in their living trust. Half will go to scholarships for students in San Jose State’s School of Information (iSchool), and half will support student research in the Library Research Scholars Program at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. “When I heard about the program with King Library, student intensive research,” she said, “I thought that sounds like something I would like to support too.”

Sandler and Altman make annual gifts to support the School of Information Alumni and Friends Scholarship, and they decided to arrange a planned gift as well. “I want to help out the iSchool specifically because I don’t want to see the profession tank, I want to see it thrive,” Sandler said. “There’s always going to be a need for a library. Library science is changing, with artificial intelligence and automation,” she explained. “And I want to see the field survive – however it evolves as a field.”

Sandler was a librarian at Westwood College (Anaheim campus) for 12 years, and for the past eight years was a librarian for her synagogue, Temple Beth David. A “passionate” specialist in Judaica and Jewish genealogy and longtime president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Orange County, Sandler has assisted numerous institutions with her expertise for more than 30 years. “I have about 3,850 books in my catalog,” she said, “including the 215 volumes in my garage.” She described how she views her chosen profession: “To help guide people to the right places.”

“Michelle likes the idea of supporting scholarships because she thinks everyone should have an opportunity like she had,” added Altman, who worked at Boeing and graduated from UC Irvine’s engineering school. “And why now? Why not now? Now is the time to think about it, not after we’re gone.”

“My world is libraries,” Sandler added, “Maybe I can make a difference.”

You can join Michelle and Robert leaving a legacy at San Jose State. Help us realize the university’s potential as a nationally prominent urban public university with a gift in your will or a gift that pays you income to support the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library and benefit current and future Spartans. Learn how you can make a legacy gift at Legacy.sjsu.edu.

Benton White and Mary Lou Bloomberg

When Benton White and his wife Mary Lou Bloomberg moved to San Jose State in 1961 to start a campus ministry, they did not anticipate dedicating more than 30 years to the campus community, which was in a state of change. White served as the nation’s first university ombudsman and founded the university’s Department of Comparative Religious Studies, where he taught for decades. Following their retirement, White and Bloomberg decided to bequeath a gift to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library to provide long-term support to the library and maintain resources for the benefit of the Comparative Religious Studies program at San Jose State.

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As San Jose State’s minister, White became active in the local civil rights movement, which attracted the eye of then-President Robert Clark. In 1967, as student activists spoke out about housing discrimination, the segregation of fraternities and sororities, and improved conditions for students of all backgrounds, Clark appointed White as ombudsman to serve as a liaison between students and the administration. White made civil rights a priority in his college days at the University of Alabama and as an Air Force chaplain in Lincoln, Nebraska.

One of his first meetings was with then-sociology lecturer Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate.
“Harry wanted to know why this white man from Alabama had been appointed as ombudsman during a time of such racial turmoil,” says White. “He said he didn’t know what to think. But I listened and he gave me time and together we worked hard. Harry was a hero of mine in many respects.”

During the 1967-1968 academic year, White traveled across the United States, giving talks about his newly created role and how campus leaders could facilitate productive conversations. His wife was busy at home with two young sons, but that year remains in their memory as the beginning of something important.

White helped create the religious studies department in 1970 and dedicated many years to teaching. Throughout his tenure, White stayed active on campus committees, as well as athletics and in his church. Whether they were advocating for social change in the Midwest or galvanizing support for underrepresented students in San Jose, White and Bloomberg’s life have had a life of service.

“The religious studies program was an important part of why I wanted to leave money to the library,” says White. “SJSU was my life for decades and it’s a wonderful university.”

“We came to San Jose in 1961—and nearly 60 years later, we’re still here,” says Bloomberg. “We felt that San Jose State was the right place for us to leave a legacy.”

Benton White and Mary Lou Bloomberg
Nicholas Taddeo Jr.

Nicholas Taddeo Jr., ’69

The year that Nicholas Taddeo Jr. graduated from San Jose State, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Though Taddeo, ’69 Math, was too busy working to watch the historic moment in real time, the promise of space exploration kept him inspired throughout his 40-year career in software. In recent years, Taddeo recognized the lack of diversity in his field, and when he learned about planned gift opportunities at SJSU, he seized the chance to create professional opportunities for women and people of color, who are often underrepresented in science.

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“I realized that I had the chance to establish a legacy,” says Taddeo. “By designating SJSU as a beneficiary of my estate, I am creating something with societal impact. My hope is that I can have some small effect steering the ship of software development toward a more inclusive future.”

Taddeo established a scholarship to support students pursuing computer science, with special consideration given to participants of Girls Who Code, Women in Engineering, as well as returning students whose studies had been interrupted while they raised families.

He was pleased to discover that a beneficiary designation supersedes provisions of a will. Establishing the gift itself was straightforward—Taddeo directed several accounts to SJSU via beneficiary designation, while leaving the rest to heirs through his unchanged will.

“Right now, I’m living on the dividends and interest earned by the money I’ve aimed at San Jose State,” says Taddeo. “I am able to live off the proceeds, and by establishing SJSU as a beneficiary, it’s fairly easy to create a legacy.”

Since retiring from tech, Taddeo has volunteered as a tutor with Project Second Chance, a Contra Costa County initiative to support English language learners, and Senior Scholars, which pairs seniors with middle school and elementary school students. Both experiences have reinforced his decision to support higher education.

“I encourage people to consider giving, whether it be during your lifetime or after you’re gone,” says Taddeo. “We can only run a planet with people who learn things. Education is key.”

Taddeo looks forward to the day that humans explore space’s outer limits. Perhaps his gift will support the next women astronauts to explore the solar system.

Mark and Kathy Loveless: Rewarding Spartan Service

Mark and Kathy Loveless moved to San Jose from Virginia in the mid-1970s. High school sweethearts who married at 18, Mark had enlisted in the military while Kathy studied medical technology. After his honorable discharge, Mark studied with Kathy in Virginia until she graduated, at which point they loaded up their Plymouth Fury and drove west. Though Mark’s G.I. Bill helped pay for college, the 22-year-old was motivated to get through college quickly.

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“I was married and I had a pregnant wife,” says Mark, ’78 Accounting. “I took up to 20 units a semester so I could get through college in three years and a semester. Three days after I took my last final, I was working at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where I stayed for 22 years as an assurance partner in their technology sector. After a brief stint as a CFO at a software company, I returned to public accounting as a managing partner at Burr Pilger Mayer. I ended up having a 35-year accounting career, which I wouldn’t have had without San Jose State. That’s one of the reasons we felt it important to give back.”

Accounting offered Mark stability and helped him build skills in sales, marketing, business and finance. Kathy worked as a medical technologist at Good Samaritan Hospital while they raised two daughters. After they retired, the longtime annual supporters of SJSU established the Mark and Kathy Loveless Scholarship for service members and military veterans in the accounting department.

“San Jose State gave us a good life and we wanted to aid those who have done service for our country and now need help continuing their studies so they can go on to be productive citizens,” says Kathy.

After meeting scholarship recipients and seeing the difference their support made, Mark and Kathy provided a provision in their estate plan to permanently endow the fund. Veterans and service members will continue to benefit from their generosity for years to come.

“Generally, veterans or service members are in their 20s, and chances are, they have been on their own for a while,” says Mark. “They may be further along in their lives so it’s harder for them to take off the time to get an education. I remember how scarce the money was when we were doing it. Hopefully our scholarship helps.”

Richard Sessions: Removing Obstacles For a Better Future

Richard Sessions is a career businessperson, leader of a $400 million marketing organization, entrepreneur and lecturer in San Jose State’s School of Information Systems and Technology at the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business. Sessions has a learning disability, dyslexia, that makes it difficult to read and process speech—which challenged him as a student and has now informed his teaching style. His late daughter also struggled with dyslexia. As a result, he recognizes and helps San Jose State students in his classes who confront similar invisible obstacles to learning.

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“Somebody with a disability has to work doubly hard, triply hard on their education. Often they can’t work and pursue a college education at the same time. This potentially creates an economic burden,” he says. “That’s when I realized that I have the ability to give these students an opportunity for a better future.”

Sessions knew he wanted to create opportunities for Spartans living with learning difficulties, but wasn’t sure where to start.

“The best way to get started with giving is to meet with the people in University Advancement,” he says. “They provide excellent advice on the best approach to helping students while meeting your giving goals.”

After discussing his options, Sessions decided to establish a scholarship at the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business for students with disabilities through the Accessible Education Center by designating San Jose State beneficiary in his retirement plan. He sees the opportunity to support Spartans living with disabilities as a way to shed light on the otherwise invisible problems some students face.

“This scholarship is recognition of a potentially underserved student population that people don’t think of,” he says. “You cannot always see learning disabilities. Sometimes students don’t even know they have a disability. When we think of disabilities, we think of have ramps for wheelchairs. Where are the ramps for dyslexics?”

Sessions envisions the future recipients of the AEC scholarship finding the resources they need to achieve in school and beyond. His message for students with disabilities reflects his experience as a dyslexic student, businessperson and parent: “Most dyslexics are bright, but they run into this learning roadblock,” he says. “Yes, you have to try harder. Don’t let that hold you back.”

“I identify with San Jose State students, and now I have the ability to give these Spartans opportunity for a better future.”

—Richard Sessions

Gary and Eileen Ruppel: Education’s Impact on Society

Gary and Eileen Ruppel fell in love while volunteering in San Jose’s East Side Union High School District as part of an industrial school partnership sponsored by Hewlett Packard, their employer. A career human resources manager, Gary was drawn to Eileen, an HR training and education specialist and former kindergarten and preschool teacher who to this day believes that “the stronger the community is with education, with its infrastructure and with caring for its people, the stronger everyone will be.”

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Together Gary and Eileen realized that by investing in education, they could multiply their impact on the community.

“Education has always been a central focus for our family,” says Gary, ’64 Business Administration, ’66 MBA. “To be a well-rounded student, you need to see what’s going on in your community, how you might contribute. It’s best to learn that early.”

Throughout his 35-year career at HP, Gary never forgot the value of his San Jose State education. At the time that he pursued his degrees, he lived in married student housing opposite Spartan Stadium (now CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans). Rent was $37.50 a month and tuition averaged $35 a semester. He juggled part-time work while raising two young children and completing his studies. Meanwhile, Eileen pursued her education in Colorado, thanks to the support of her parents and student loans. Both believe that affordable education is the bedrock of creating healthy, sustainable communities—which is why they have decided to give back to San Jose State.

“Knowledge is power,” says Gary. “Education contributes broadly to global economics, gender equality, health, good governance and stability.”

By establishing a charitable gift annuity at San Jose State, they are creating opportunities for future Spartans—students and faculty members alike—while receiving tax benefits and guaranteed payments for life. Gary says that funding the gift with highly appreciated securities (investments that have increased in value from the time they were purchased) provides them with a tax deduction, allows them to reduce their tax holdings and lessens their exposure to market fluctuations. They receive a guaranteed annual income while San Jose State is provided with a significant future gift.

“From our perspective, everyone wins,” says Gary. “We can gain satisfaction in supporting education, which is something we are passionate about. I received a quality education from SJSU at a bargain price, which contributed greatly to the success I achieved in my career. This gift gives us much personal satisfaction.”

“We hope our gift encourages some students to take advantage of opportunities to develop skills that will favorably impact them and the society in which they live,” says Eileen.

“Community service has always been important to us.”

—Gary Ruppel

“Education is an investment in our communities, in the future and in young people.”

—Eileen Ruppel

Joe Thomas

When Joe Thomas attended San Jose State, it was the first time in his life that he was surrounded by people who shared common interests and goals, and who were motivated to succeed. He says that this passion and commitment were as important as technical skills. Like many other students, Thomas had to work to put himself through school.

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“I didn’t have time for the experience of being in a fraternity, going to football games or all the other social activities college offers,” says Thomas, ’90 Aerospace Engineering.

Since pursuing a successful career in aerospace, Thomas decided to create a bequest in his living trust that will afford students that campus life experience. Through scholarships and support of other student needs in aviation and technology, his bequest will give students opportunities for exciting careers. It will also ensure the continuation of the aviation program—important given that SJSU was the only public university that offered such a program when he attended.

When Thomas meets fellow donors at SJSU events, he is reminded of the sense of family he felt when he was a student. That’s why he has started to fund the scholarship now, so he can personally experience giving it to a student—another member of the San Jose State family.

“Getting reconnected to San Jose State as a donor has exceeded my expectations,” he says. “I only wish I had done this years ago.”

Donn Burch

When Donn Burch attended SJSU in the late 1960s, his college days were not carefree. He had to work his way through school—tuition and books were his financial concern. The businessman wanted to make it easier for current students to receive a great education.

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“Because of my excellent professors, I’ve been successful and am able to give back to the school that did so much for me,” says Burch, ’72 Business.

With state support drastically reduced from when he was in college, he believes that the need for private contributions is even more critical. Burch has backed up that belief with action.

He has already endowed three scholarships, one in business and two that honor family members. Burch honored his mother with a named scholarship in the School of Music and established another for students studying physical therapy that honors his late brother, whose life was cut short at age 18.

Burch has made provisions through his estate to add significantly to these funds. He also has provisions to establish two charitable gift annuities via his estate. They will provide a family member and a close friend with guaranteed payments for life and a future additional gift to SJSU.

“I am proud that my education provided me with a life where I am now able to give back,” he says. “I encourage all alumni to give back. Give to the university, a college, a program or a scholarship. Your gifts can help give current and future students the same great start that I received at SJSU.”

“I am proud that my education provided me with a life where I am now able to give back.”

—Donn Burch

Professor Christian Jochim

Comparative Religious Studies Professor Christian Jochim had been teaching at San Jose State more than 30 years when he began planning his retirement. He enrolled in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP), which allows tenured faculty members, librarians and counselors to reduce their workload while receiving 50 percent pay for the remaining few years of their career. Not long after enrolling in the program, Jochim and his wife Bauchin realized that between receiving his pension and his salary, they would soon be owing more than they had planned on their taxes. Jochim consulted with a gift planner at SJSU and was surprised to learn he could secure a guaranteed annuity payment, receive a sizable income tax deduction and leave a significant gift to SJSU, all by establishing a charitable gift annuity.

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“A charitable gift annuity really works for me. It would probably help a lot of others in my situation,” he says. “Most gift planning options do not provide tax advantages while you’re living, so charitable gift annuities are unique. I’m giving the gift while I’m living and receiving the benefits today. SJSU will also get a nice gift when I pass on.”

In addition to the tax benefits, Jochim learned about another nice feature of charitable gift annuities: he can defer his guaranteed payments for higher payments later in life when they are most needed for things like medical expenses and long-term care. Knowing the gift will eventually create an endowment for the College of Humanities and the Arts is rewarding, he says. Though Eastern religion and culture have been his longtime academic focus, Jochim and his wife enjoy attending SJSU performances, art shows, theatrical productions and lectures. It is important to him to support not just religious studies, but humanities and the arts as a whole.

“If you’re considering giving charitable donations, think about San Jose State,” he says. “It’s worth your while and has great academic programs that are in many ways hidden jewels. I’ve always known that if I’m going to support any institution, it’s going to be SJSU.”

Steve and Cheryl Caplan

When Steve and Cheryl Caplan met at San Jose State in the 1960s, they fell in love, not only with each other, but with the university that brought them together. Seeking a comprehensive way to pay their appreciation forward, the Caplans committed $2 million from their estate to their alma mater. Half of that gift will support the development of a new football operations center, and the other half will create three endowments: the Caplan Family Faculty Fellowship in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, the Caplan Family Teacher Innovation Fund in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, and a Spartan Athletics Fund Scholarship endowment.

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“With our hearts full of appreciation, our contribution acknowledges the gift of education we received as young adults,” says Steve, ’65 Industrial Management. “We hope these gifts will enable San Jose State to continue its good work for future generations of students and student-athletes. We also wish to model philanthropic behavior for our family members, friends and future generations of Spartans.”

Steve joined KBM Workspace, an office furniture and design company, when he was a senior at San Jose State and purchased the company in 1984, becoming its owner and president while helping it grow. He is a current and founding board member of the Tower Foundation of SJSU, an auxiliary organization that handles the investment, administration and banking of SJSU’s philanthropic donations.

Cheryl, ’67 Social Science, ’68 Teaching Credential, taught public school after graduating from San Jose State. As the mother of two energetic young boys, she volunteered in the rural Loma Prieta School District and worked with the principal and superintendent, researching and implementing curriculum, and creating a preschool testing program that helped parents, teachers and children prepare for kindergarten. Cheryl became well versed in the challenges facing education, particularly good communication between the school and families, adequate funding and the need for creative ideas to prepare excellent teachers.

Steve and Cheryl recognize the key role San Jose State plays in the economic well-being of Silicon Valley. They hope their gift will enable SJSU to inspire future generations, build a stronger foundation for Spartan football and Intercollegiate Athletics, and encourage others to invest in the academic mission of the university.

Janice and Ron Dong

Not long after Janice Dong got her teaching credential at San Jose State, she and her husband Ron began investing in real estate. As teachers in a growing Silicon Valley, they learned how to manage and maintain property as a second source of income. Following their retirement, the Dongs learned that by donating one of their rentals to San Jose State via a charitable remainder trust, they could get a large tax deduction, bypass the capital gains and receive a nice income. The remainder from their trust will establish a scholarship benefiting underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students, creating opportunities for future generations.

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“I hope that our gift will help kids go to college—and I hope that San Jose State will have enough support to make them successful,” says Janice, ’64 Elementary Education. “The money that went into the charitable remainder trust is the full amount the house sold for, rather than taking off the capital gains and having a smaller amount to invest. Since we don’t have kids, our money can go to other kids. It’s very advantageous.”

The Dongs met as undergraduates at the University of Redlands, where Janice was studying psychology. The son of a gardener, Ron received a scholarship and worked to support himself, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. He served in the Navy before he and Janice moved to San Jose to begin their teaching careers. When they weren’t teaching, they traveled the world or drove across the country in their RV. After retiring, they researched ways to give back to students who they felt needed the most support. They met with a planned giving officer at San Jose State to learn how they could make an impact.

“It’s important to be educated about the pros and cons of giving in different ways,” says Janice. “Find a wonderful person like Randy Balogh, SJSU’s director of planned giving, to walk you through the giving process.”

The Dongs describe their annual income from the trust as “travel money.” They recommend that prospective donors consider charitable remainder trusts as a mutually beneficial way to pay success forward.

“We set up our gift in 1991, at a time when affirmative action was coming under the gun,” says Janice. “We decided to set up a scholarship for underrepresented minorities to ensure they had a chance.”

“It’s important to be educated about the pros and cons of giving in different ways. Find a wonderful person like Randy Balogh, SJSU’s director of planned giving, to walk you through the giving process.”

—Janice Dong

Jim and Louise Dunaway

When Louise Dunaway was a sophomore in college at University of Mount Union, her father suddenly fell ill and her parents informed her that she’d have to drop out. Heartbroken, the aspiring mathematician approached her dean, who worked with her to find a job on campus and apply for an academic scholarship. Years later, after teaching in the U.S. Virgin Islands and earning a National Science Foundation fellowship to pursue a master’s degree, Louise began teaching high school math in Mountain View. It was there that she met fellow teacher Jim Dunaway, ’67 Teaching Credential, who, like her, considered teaching math to be “the best job in the world.” Nearly 50 years later, the Dunaways have established a charitable remainder trust that will create endowed scholarships and awards for future math teachers at San Jose State.

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“I hope that our scholarship recipients really love what they are doing and are encouraged to stay within the profession,” says Louise. “We need good teachers—we need dedicated people. I hope that the students feel validated for all their efforts and hard work.”

Jim worked as an industrial engineer before coming to San Jose, where he realized teaching was his true calling. For decades he and Louise taught at the same school, often staying after school to sponsor math clubs, tutor students and organize field trips to college math lectures. Louise hosted Saturday workshops to encourage girls to study math.

When they retired in the mid-1990s, the Dunaways wanted to share their love for teaching with the next generation. They turned to Jim’s alma mater where, in 2018, they began making annual contributions to award scholarships to math majors pursuing either single-subject or multiple-subject teaching credentials. They also established charitable gift annuities at the University of Mount Union and at Fresno State, where Jim earned his bachelor’s degree. Now, they have the opportunity to meet scholarship recipients every year and witness the impact of their gifts.

“We both loved teaching mathematics,” says Jim. “We wanted to encourage other people to get the same joy out of what they do in life.”

Louise says that without the support of her college dean all those years ago or the NSF fellowship, she probably would not have been able to get an education. Decades later, she is paying her gratitude forward.

“You hear people say they are ‘self-made,’ that they accomplished everything themselves,” she says. “No one ever achieves anything entirely by themselves. I always felt if there were some opportunity for us to provide help to somebody else, I would like us to do it.”

Ruth Yaffe

In 1957, the same year that San Jose State College celebrated its centennial, Ruth Yaffe was hired as a temporary instructor in the chemistry department. A specialist in radioactive chemistry and pioneering scientist, Yaffe became the first woman tenured professor in chemistry at San Jose State. She taught for 35 years, helping more than 500 undergraduates apply to graduate programs and pursue careers in science, medicine and law. Following her retirement, she donated a house she had purchased for her parents to San Jose State to fund a charitable remainder trust.

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“I had spent my entire teaching career at SJSU,” says Yaffe. “I mentored hundreds of students, many of them the first in their families to go to a university. Most of them were working as well as going to school. I am fortunate to be able to do something for others.”

Yaffe’s teaching career began as an undergraduate at Macalester College, where she took over her professor’s summer class for soldiers returning from World War II. The young scientist went on to earn a fellowship to pursue her PhD before teaching in Tennessee and moving out west with her family. Only a few years after she began teaching full time, her husband died suddenly, leaving her with two small children. Yaffe focused on raising her children while juggling a full course load at San Jose State. Years later, she married the musician Charles Houser. When the time came to sell her parents’ home, she learned that using the sale of the house to create a charitable remainder trust would not only give her a significant tax deduction and avoid capital gains tax, but the trust would make regular payments to her. SJSU in turn will receive a significant gift to support future generations of Spartans, just as Yaffe envisions.

“With my charitable remainder trust, I receive payments from the trust for the rest of my life—after which point the university receives the remainder to fund scholarships forever. A win-win situation,” she says. “SJSU was my focus, and it seemed natural to support it.”

“With my charitable remainder trust, I receive payments from the trust for the rest of my life—after which point the university receives the remainder to fund scholarships forever. A win-win situation.”

—Ruth Yaffe

Fernando Zazueta

The child of Mexican farmworkers, Fernando Zazueta attended 16 different schools before graduating from San Jose High School in 1957—and still remembers early mornings when he had to dig holes deeper than himself for the family outhouse. By the time he graduated from San Jose State in 1962, he’d studied science and business, hosted parties to help fund his tuition, and met his wife Cecily, ’65 Nursing, who later became a nurse and counselor. He joined the Air Force Reserve, helping place wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam in hospitals, and worked as a bank officer before pursuing a law degree at UC Davis. For four decades, he worked as a personal injury plaintiff’s lawyer in San Jose while raising three kids, traveling the world while staying connected to his alma mater. In an effort to give back, the Zazuetas established gifts in their wills to the university.

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“There’s a reason schools are called ‘alma maters,'” says Zazueta, ’62 Business and Industrial Management. “‘Alma’ means soul and ‘mater’ means mother. I have a great appreciation for the education I received at San Jose State. Education is the only way a person can advance in life—and I don’t just mean preparation for a job. I mean understanding the world around you. College is the key to opening the door to inquiry and learning how to apply yourself, participate and be involved in your community.”

A member of the Tower Society, the Heritage Society and the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Community Outreach Board, Zazueta has actively supported fellow Spartans for years. Zazueta is the president of the La Raza Historical Society of Santa Clara Valley. In 2020, he will become the first “foreign-born, former farmworker” president of the downtown San Jose Rotary Club, the ninth largest Rotary club in the nation.

He is motivated to support SJSU in part because of the rising cost of tuition. As an undergraduate, he says university tuition was subsidized in large part by California taxpayers—funding that has been cut time and again in the intervening years.

“I thank California taxpayers for giving this farmworker kid an education,” he says. “I was the beneficiary of a great education. Back then, the burden of paying for an education was mostly borne by the taxpayers, and today that burden has been transferred to the students. I give to SJSU because I feel a real sense of gratitude.”

Have Questions? I'm Here To Help!

Randy Balogh

Randy Balogh

Director of Planned Giving
408-924-1123
randy.balogh@sjsu.edu

The content found on this site is general in nature and intended to be used for informational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as legal, tax, accounting or other professional advice. To determine how a gift or estate planning decision might affect your particular circumstances, it is expressly recommended that you consult an attorney, financial advisor or other qualified professional.