Gary Robertson: Making a Difference with a Deferred Charitable Gift Annuity
Gary Robertson, EE’71, wasn’t sure he belonged at Missouri S&T when he arrived as a freshman from Kansas City in 1968. “I was good at math and science in high school, but all the smart people on campus were intimidating,” he says. “I decided maybe I did belong after I aced my first calculus test.”
Robertson graduated in 1971 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and has worked for nearly 50 years as a design engineer. He started his career with King Radio, a Kansas City-based avionics manufacturer, and eventually went into business for himself — building a regional clientele of manufacturing companies that look to him to design industrial controls and electronic products.
“Design is what I like to do,” says Robertson, who has developed electronic products for a number of companies. He is particularly proud of how his designs have stood the test of time. “I recently learned this is the last year for a welding control I designed 25 years ago,” he says. “I’m proud of that because 25-year-old electronic parts are kind of rare.”
Robertson has begun to think about retiring, but work keeps intervening. “I thought this might be my last year, and then a new project came along,” he says. As part of his estate-planning process, Robertson discovered deferred charitable gift annuities (DCGAs) — a giving option that appealed to him because it provides a guaranteed income for life.
“Since I work for myself and don’t have a pension, the big question is always: Will I have enough funds? The gift annuity allows me to give to the University now and still have cash flow. It offers the best of both worlds: an immediate philanthropic impact and an income for life.”
Robertson says his reason for choosing to support Missouri S&T is gratitude. “The University was a big part of my early life. It formed my world view. I walk around looking at the world like an engineer. That means I calculate everything, including my shopping route through the grocery store.”
When asked what advice he would offer an S&T freshman, Robertson says: “Work hard but have some fun. What I remember most about my years in Rolla is the late nights studying. That and the beautiful fall leaves in the Ozarks.”