McKenzie Scholarship Ensures a Generous Spirit Lives On
"Our CPA then ran some figures showing us what we would receive after taxes versus what the two universities would receive if we disclaimed our inheritance to Dad's IRA. It was very clear that the universities would receive far more than either of us, and we knew how much good those extra funds could do."
When Malcolm Marshall McKenzie died in 2006, he left family and friends with many fond memories. He also left a philanthropic legacy that will resonate for generations at higher-education institutions throughout the Midwest, including Drake University.
McKenzie, a 1948 graduate with an M.A. in economics and education, realized the value of a college education and also knew firsthand the struggles of coming up with money for tuition, fees, books, room and board. Upon his death, he left generous gifts to establish endowed scholarship funds at his alma maters, Bradley University and Drake, as well as in honor of his son, Gordon McKenzie, at the University of Iowa and the University of Missouri, and his daughter, Barbara McKenzie, at the University of Iowa and Indiana University.
In 1941, the Monmouth, Illinois, native graduated from Bradley University with a degree in industrial arts and mechanical engineering. He worked in the metallurgical laboratories at Caterpillar, Inc. before serving in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. When his tour of duty ended, McKenzie moved to Des Moines to work for the Veteran's Administration as a training officer, while also attending Drake University.
As a Drake student, McKenzie developed a love for investing. In January of 1949, he went to work for Thomson McKinnon Securities Inc., when the Dow Jones industrial average was 117.05. Five years later, he joined Merrill Lynch where he worked for the next 48 years until his retirement at the age of 80.
Altogether, his educational experiences prepared him for a varied, fulfilling and successful life—one marked by extraordinary commitment to his family and profession, as well as many charitable and civic activities.
Prior to his death, McKenzie worked with Drake's Office of Planned Giving to establish an endowed scholarship, which would be funded by an IRA upon his death. In doing so, he was able to work with the University in shaping the use of his deferred commitment. Today, the endowed Malcolm M. McKenzie Scholarship continues to support students with financial need in the College of Business and Public Administration pursuing degrees in the areas of economics and finance.
In more ways than one, Gordon and Barbara are following in their father's footsteps. In keeping with his generosity, the two decided to also support the scholarship by disclaiming the IRA they inherited from him.
"When we were valuing the components of Dad's estate, our CPA actually thought to have us check to see if Dad had listed any contingent beneficiaries on his IRA account," Gordon says. "Lo and behold, he had listed his two alma maters, Drake and Bradley, at 50 percent each."
"Our CPA then ran some figures showing us what we would receive after taxes versus what the two universities would receive if we disclaimed our inheritance to Dad's IRA," Barbara adds. "It was very clear that the universities would receive far more than either of us, and we knew how much good those extra funds could do."
Naming Drake as a contingent beneficiary of his IRA account was an ideal way for McKenzie to establish his legacy at Drake, as well as other schools. McKenzie understood the disadvantages of designating IRA's to family members, so he chose to give these assets to charity upon his death. This decision was fully revocable in case his personal situation or wishes changed during his lifetime.
As a result, current and future Drake students will benefit from Malcolm McKenzie's philanthropy, and Gordon and Barbara can celebrate the legacy of their father with those that follow in his footsteps.