College Sweethearts Find a Tax-Wise Way to Support BSU
By Brittney Williams, Communications Intern
Mearl and Lolita Guthrie wanted to leave their legacy at Ball State University. At the same time, they wished to hold onto important assets that they would need during their golden years.
By naming the Ball State University Foundation as a beneficiary of their retirement plan assets, they were able to leave a legacy while receiving income from their nest egg. Plus, their gift will protect their heirs from income taxes and potential estate taxes.
This legacy gift lets them leave their mark in a big way! The ultimate proceeds from their retirement plan will provide additional funds to the Mearl and Lolita Guthrie Scholarship in Consumer Issues, awarded annually to a student interested in consumer education in the Miller College of Business.
"We never know how much of our retirement plan we will need in the years ahead," Lolita says. "This is why we are so grateful to be able to give back any amount we do not use in our retirement account to Ball State and our scholarship."
Using Their Time, Talent, and Treasure
The Guthries met at Ball State in 1943 and have lived by a motto that has taken them through 66 years of marriage, rewarding careers, parenthood, and service to their community: "Two of the greatest gifts are life and time. There are 168 hours in a week and we all have the same amount of time. It all depends on how we use it."
After she graduated with her degree in elementary education from Ball State, Lolita (BS '47) taught eight years, serving in public schools in Muncie; Minneapolis; Cincinnati; and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. She then became a stay-at-home mother for their children Scott and Carla. In 1978, she began doing research in genealogy and family history. She was honored to receive the Ruth C. Bishop Family History Living Volunteer Hall of Honor Award from the Ohio Genealogical Society in 2006 for many years of excellence in research and cemetery preservation.
Mearl completed his BS ('48) and MAE ('49) degrees in business education at Ball State and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He taught business education at Bowling Green State University for 36 years, serving as department chair from 1957 to 1985 during a period of tremendous growth. He also helped develop the Business Administration Department for the College of the Virgin Islands.
Mearl has lectured on numerous college campuses and has been a featured speaker at management seminars for various companies and organizations. After retirement, he took an active role in Boy Scouts, National Association of Investment Clubs, The Nature Conservancy, Lions Club, as well as local environmental and natural area organizations.
Recognized in Who's Who in America, Mearl says he was mentored by many professors and administrators while attending Ball State, including former presidents John R. Emens and Robert P. Bell. These relationships greatly influenced the Guthries' decision to give back to Ball State. "They helped me see how important education is," says Mearl, who was the first graduate assistant in Ball State's Consumer Education Department. "We want to pass on to others for what these fine people did for us."
No Thank You Goes Unnoticed
Seeing students' appreciation for their scholarship and learning about their experiences at Ball State only enhances the Guthries' experience of giving back. "Receiving photos and thank you letters from our scholarship recipients is so important to us and very appreciated," Mearl says. "We are pleased that we can help future students and are touched that they take the time to show their appreciation to us."