Smart investment

Chieh (Jack) Ouyang had his sights set on one goal when he moved to Minnesota from Taiwan in 1958.

“I had a bachelor’s in civil engineering and wanted a master’s,” says Jack, ’60 M.S. “But at that time, Taiwan had no graduate schools.”

He decided to attend the University of Minnesota at the urging of former classmates who were studying there. “The U was very friendly to students from Taiwan,” he says.

In 1959, Jack’s fiancée, I-Fei Tsai, took a similar path. She left Taiwan to do undergraduate work in mathematics at the University of Oregon, then moved to Minnesota and married Jack. She earned a master’s in mathematics at the U of M in 1963 and taught mathematics at Century College. Jack spent most of his career at 3M. The couple had three children, all of whom hold degrees from the U of M.

After retiring, the Ouyangs began making undesignated gifts to their alma maters. “Then I-Fei talked about wanting to direct money to each university in our will,” says Jack. When she passed away in 2015, Jack decided to expedite that plan. He set up two scholarships at the University’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE) to support students in civil engineering and mathematics, funded with annual IRA qualified charitable distributions. “I’m required to take minimum distributions every year, so this was an opportunity to put those funds toward something meaningful to me,” says Jack.

He also included a gift in his will to fund the Ouyang scholarships in perpetuity.

The first recipients were recently named for the Chieh and I-Fei Ouyang Scholarship in Civil Engineering and the Chieh and I-Fei Ouyang Scholarship in Mathematics at CSE. “Three students received the engineering scholarship, and I just got a call from the first recipient,” says Jack. “It was rewarding to hear what she’d accomplished and how the scholarship helped.”

Legacy of support

Many donors who make gifts through IRA qualified charitable distributions also name the U of M as a beneficiary of their IRA or other tax-deferred plan. This provides additional support for the causes they care about.

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