The “Thanks a Million, Dr. McClain!” fundraising campaign is an important component of the “Pursue the Future” campaign and is designed to recognize former University President Dr. Charles McClain for his contributions while raising more than $1 million in his memory.
Gifts to this initiative provide valuable support for the ABC/Charles J. McClain Scholarship Fund, the Charles J. McClain Scholarship Endowment and the General John J. Pershing Scholarship Endowment. Each of these funds meant a great deal to McClain, and they all address one of Truman’s greatest institutional priorities — providing scholarship resources to deserving students.
In response to this effort, Truman alumni Phillip (’78) and Marla (’77) Brenner have documented a six-figure planned gift commitment to the General John J. Pershing Scholarship Endowment.
“We all have experiences that are life-changing,” Phil said. “For us, that was Truman State University. Marla and I met at Truman and are the first in our families to graduate from college. I was lucky enough to be named a Pershing Scholar. The scholarship, along with part-time work — I was advertising manager for the Index — and summer jobs allowed me to get a great education. I think that it is very important to give exceptional students a chance for a great education without regard to their financial means.”
Phil is deeply appreciative of the opportunities he has been given that allowed him to have a good career, to raise a family with Marla, to live well and to have resources for retirement. Phil and Marla shared their good fortune over the years with Truman and have been loyal and generous annual donors to the Foundation since the 1980s. They are now arranging for Truman to receive support after their lifetimes. A bequest in their will ensures the General John J. Pershing Scholarship Endowment will one day receive a major gift from the Brenner’s estate that will be used to support highly motivated and promising students in perpetuity.
“In planning for our estate we wanted to leave something for our children, plus provide bequests to a few charities and causes that are important to us,” Phil said. “By doing it through our estate, we retain control and use the assets if we need them. On the other hand, we can’t take it with us, so we know that portion of our estate will go to continuing the important work of Truman.”
McClain’s passing was a poignant reminder of the influence one individual can exercise to significantly shape the world. Envisioning and realizing a better future requires intention, discipline, integrity, humility and action. Phil and Marla understand the importance of integrating these powerful components and leverage each of them to create a better future for generations that follow. They challenge other alumni to support the future success of Truman and the students it serves.
“I encourage all alumni who have benefited from their experiences at Truman to think about how they can give back,” Phil said. “It’s easy, without taking dollars out of your pocket, to make a donation to Truman through your estate. Knowing that a portion of what you leave behind will help deserving students and sustain the mission of Truman is a legacy you can be proud of.”