Family affair
A U of M grad makes a tax-free estate gift to support his school and honor his family

Chuck Stoddard, ’59 B.S., smiles when asked about his memories of the University of Minnesota. He recalls visits to the natural history museum, now the Bell Museum, with his grandparents; graduation from University High School; and a freshman-year economics course that ultimately changed his life. 

“I was an undistinguished student. I really didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do with my life,” he says. “But when I got into that economics class, it really caught me. I became tremendously interested in all facets of it.”

Stoddard went on to have a long career in the investment field, starting out as a researcher with First National Bank and retiring from Wells Fargo in December 2017 after 36 years. When it came time to make his estate plans, supporting the University of Minnesota and honoring his family were his top priorities. 

“We all have our worthy organizations,” he says. “Mine happens to be the U of M.”

After providing for his wife, Deedee, and his stepson’s family, the long-time investor chose to make a tax-free estate gift from his IRA that will support a number of areas at the U, including the Carlson School of Management and the Bell Museum. 

“Most people set it up so their IRA takes care of family first, then what’s left goes to whatever they want to support,” he says. “If I left it to my wife, it would be taxed, and the residual going to the U would have been less.”

His gift also honors family members, all of whom are U of M graduates. He will establish funds named for his granddaughter, who earned her pharmacy degree at the University of Minnesota; his grandson, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD); and his granddaughter and her mother, both long-time animal lovers.

Stoddard's hope is that his family will add to these funds over the years. “That would compound the benefit,” he says.


By naming the U as a beneficiary of his IRA, Chuck Stoddard will support:

  • The planetarium at the Bell Museum
  • A professorship and a scholarship in his name in the Carlson School of Management
  • A pharmaceutical research fund in honor of his granddaughter, Alexandra C. Saunders
  • A summer undergraduate research fund at UMD in honor of his grandson, Connor T. Edlund
  • An emergency care fund in the College of Veterinary Medicine named for Alexandra and her mother, Patricia W. Edlund


“The generous foresight of benefactors like Chuck will help us create the future leaders of our business community.”
—Sri Zaheer, dean of the Carlson School of Management


Photo: Alexandra Saunders, Connor Edlund, and their four-legged friends.


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