Martha Symonds

 

Martha Symonds’s enduring connection to Northwestern’s School of Education (now the School of Education and Social Policy, or SESP) began in 1940 when her mother, a 1920s graduate of Northwestern, returned to get her master’s degree in education and teaching credential.

After Martha ’57 MS graduated from Stanford 15 years later with a bachelor’s degree in political science, she took her mother’s advice and decided to pursue her master’s degree and teaching credential at SESP, which she completed in 1957. She continued to follow in her mother’s footsteps by dedicating the next nine years of her career to teaching in Evanston and Wilmette schools. During that time, Martha had the opportunity to work with and mentor Northwestern student teachers who completed their practice teaching in her classroom.

When Martha attended Northwestern, SESP was a traditional school of education focused primarily on school-based learning and teacher training. Today, it has transformed into a school with an expanded mission, innovative programs, and far-reaching impact, preparing its students to contribute in the classroom, at not-for-profits, in government, and even in business. Its teacher education program remains one of the best in the nation. Through a broadened curriculum, SESP helps students consider all of the important factors and stakeholders that will impact their professional practice. This innovative approach to teacher training and commitment to preparing leaders in education resonated with Martha, who found her true niche as a problem solver in the leadership positions she held later in her career as Curriculum Director and District Superintendent.

In gratitude for the transformative nature of both her mother’s education and her own, Martha elected to designate SESP as a beneficiary of her retirement plan at the time she planned her estate in order to invest in a quality education for future educators.

“Many Northwestern alumni are regular people like me who have worked hard throughout their lives. You don’t have to be enormously wealthy to give to the University—by naming Northwestern the beneficiary of a retirement account, you can make a significant gift,” Martha says. Northwestern alumni and friends who wish to make a gift to Northwestern of all or a percentage of a retirement account can easily accomplish this by naming the University on the beneficiary designation form provided by the plan administrator. If, like Martha, you would like to direct your support to your favorite school or program at Northwestern, please contact Northwestern Gift Planning at 800-826-6709 or giftplanning@northwestern.edu.

“I would strongly encourage others to consider supporting Northwestern in this way,” says Martha. “I know that my gift to Northwestern will make a difference.”

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an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

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able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

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You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Northwestern as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

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