February 7, 2017

Hal Schade ’67 credits two of his biggest life decisions to one friend who asked him two simple questions at different times in his life. While Schade’s life journey would take him from active military duty across the world and sailing the blue seas, these two questions would create a round-trip for Schade that would lead him back to Texas A&M.

Schade graduated from Texas A&M in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism but put his career on hold to serve 12 years on active duty in the Army. He retired with 28 years in the Army Reserves before returning to his journalism roots as the editor of a small paper before taking a position at the San Antonio Express-News. In 1985, he joined the public relations department at USAA and retired 15 years later.  

In 2003, Schade followed his two passions—sailing and photography—and spent the next six years in the Western Caribbean with his boat, Griffin. In 2009, he woke up one morning and decided it was time to call someplace else home.

“One of my friends said, ‘You’re such an Aggie—why don’t you move to College Station?’ and I said, ‘Well, why don’t I?’ and I’ve been here ever since!” said Schade. “The rest is history.”

While discussing retirement plans the following year, Schade was looking for a way to give back and was once again asked an important question from his friend.

“You’re such an Aggie—why don’t you give money to Texas A&M?”

As an answer, in his estate plans, Schade included the Texas A&M Foundation as the beneficiary of his retirement accounts and life insurance policies. These will fund multiple Endowed Opportunity Award scholarships and establish endowments in the departments of oceanography and astronomy, two subjects that reflect his love for sailing.

In 2016, Schade made a gift using his IRA account to create the Lee R. “Pete” Wright ’54 Journalism Technology Endowment after hearing about the required minimum distributions (RMD) rule that would force him to take withdrawals from his IRA.

An IRA charitable rollover gift allows you to avoid taxes on IRA withdrawals, satisfy your RMD for the year, reduce your taxable income and make a gift that is not subject to the 50 percent deduction limits on charitable gifts. By simply contacting your IRA plan administrator and designating a gift be made to the Texas A&M Foundation, your IRA funds will be transferred directly to the Foundation and go into immediate use by the university.

“Some students leave high school without a camera or a laptop, and I thought I could help fill that need,” Schade said. “Being a journalism graduate has benefitted me throughout my whole life, and it was important to me to give back. I want to help the journalism program recruit top students, and I thought an endowment like this could make the program stronger.”

In addition to the technology endowment, Schade created a scholarship for incoming freshmen in the journalism program. So far, the scholarship has had one recipient, and Schade has met with her and seen her succeed because of his gift.

While College Station is no Western Caribbean, Schade is proud to call Aggieland home. After selling his boat in 2009 and moving back to Texas, Schade has created a legacy at Texas A&M and given back to programs that helped guide his own life and passions. He still travels to Mexico twice a year to focus on photography and enjoy life, but Texas A&M remains his anchor. 

“There are multiple points in my life where I’ve benefitted from being an Aggie, and all throughout my life there’s always been some kind of tie to Texas A&M,” he said. “I needed to give back, and planned giving gave me an easy way to do it.”

To learn more about giving an IRA rollover gift that will help satisfy required minimum distributions or creating a planned gift, contact the Office of Gift Planning today.