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Leading through estate gifts

Shepard and Finlay lead through estate gifts

Members of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Alumni Council are key volunteer leaders at the Business School, working throughout the year on important initiatives within the alumni and School community. Recently, Council members Margo Warhola Shepard (BSBA ’78) and Steve Finlay (MBA ’90) chose to further cement their legacies at the School by creating endowments backed through their estates.

For Shepard, the decision to create an Assured Admission fund at the Business School was sparked by tragedy. When her cousin, Marjorie Singer Campbell (BSBA ’81), died of complications from breast cancer, Shepard wanted to do something to celebrate her legacy.

“I could not think of a better way to honor her memory than to provide a student with need the opportunity to attend UNC Kenan-Flagler.”

Shepard created The Marjorie Singer Campbell Undergraduate Business Assured Admission Scholarship Fund, a $200,000 gift backed through her estate that she pays into each year using qualified charitable distributions from her IRA account. She previously set up a similar scholarship through the Rams Club to support a female track and field athlete at Carolina.

Similarly, Finlay used his estate to back the creation of The Finlay Family Dean’s Discretionary Fund, a $100,000 endowed fund that offers unrestricted financial support for the Business School and the Dean’s highest priorities. His motivation was three-fold.

“First of all, I have been giving on an annual basis because I am thankful for the experiences I had as a student, the experiences I am now having as an alumnus, as well as the lasting friendships I have formed during both. The second reason I give is my gift will ensure UNC Kenan-Flagler remains strong and will fuel the essential work the School does to sustain our excellence in teaching and learning. And lastly, I want to bring about a family-wide effort to back a charity that has a special significance to them.”

In addition to supporting the Business School through his estate, Finlay and his wife Jeri also gifted $100,000 to The Martha C. Finlay Endowed Fund for Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research & Patient Care at Carolina.

For both Finlay and Shepard, their service on the Council played a major role in inspiring their support.

“I took the first step by volunteering both my time and experience,” states Finlay. “I have enjoyed reconnecting with the School – allowing me to better understand the School’s direction and what it wants to accomplish in the short-term and long-term.”

Similarly, for Shepard the Council provided her with a new lens through which to see the university and the Business School.

“Returning to Chapel Hill and meeting with other loyal alums who are passionate about Carolina has been very rewarding. Getting to interact with faculty and staff has made me realize the incredible talent at the school and makes me even more proud to give back.”

To learn more about giving through your estate, please visit the Carolina Gift Planning website. By designating a gift of any amount to the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Foundation from your will, revocable trust, retirement plan or other estate plan, you will be inducted into the Dudley Carroll Society at UNC Kenan-Flagler and the Gerrard Society of UNC Chapel-Hill. To learn more about the UNC Kenan-Flagler Alumni Council you can visit the Council’s Website.