Jere and Jack Smith '64 created a testamentary unitrust using an IRA account to benefit Texas A&M Galveston's marine transportation students.
In 1962, Jack H. Smith ’64 was like many college sophomores, jumping from major to major as he tried to find his place. Then serendipity intervened when The Battalion announced the opening of the Gulf Coast’s first maritime academy.
Smith switched his major for the last time to marine transportation, moved back to his hometown of Galveston, and, as he put it, “went from scholastic probation to the dean’s list.” In 1966, he not only graduated in the Texas Maritime Academy’s inaugural class, but also earned a bachelor’s degree and a U.S. Merchant Marine license. “I knew I’d found where I belonged,” Smith recalled.
Decades later, that feeling returned when Smith, by then a seasoned ship pilot, accepted a lecturer position at Texas A&M University at Galveston. This move put him back where he started, as the
was by then incorporated into the university’s marine and maritime studies campus. “I agreed to work for Galveston for one semester and ended up staying 11-and-a-half years,” he said with a laugh. Texas A&M Maritime Academy
Even though the now-retired Smith is no longer in the classroom, he and his wife, Jere Cyrus Smith, are still focused on the academic success of Galveston’s Sea Aggies.
The Smiths already endowed three scholarships for Galveston students, but they wanted to do more. After contacting the Texas A&M Foundation, they decided to create a planned gift through a testamentary unitrust, or “give it twice” trust. This is a unique method of giving that allows individuals to use an asset—an IRA account in the Smiths’ case—to fund a trust after their lifetimes. Invested by the Foundation, the Smith’s trust will then make annual lifetime payments to the couple’s three children, plus payments to their two grandchildren for a term of 20 years. At the termination of the trust, the remaining assets will support Texas A&M Galveston. The Smiths can also add to the trust to increase its long-term value.
While the couple is fond of all Galveston students, they have a special place in their hearts for marine transportation program students—those striving to become deck officers aboard seagoing vessels. Through their planned gift, the Smiths will perpetually provide scholarships for these students long after they’re gone. Their gift will also help with the upkeep of Galveston’s vessel training simulator, which offers a moving, virtual reality experience for aspiring ship officers.