“IT MIGHT SOUND UNUSUAL, A 26–YEAR-OLD PUTTING HIS ALMA MATER IN HIS ESTATE PLAN.”
Since the fall of 2019, I have been working in Trondheim, Norway, as a project manager for Epic Systems Corporation. I work with Norwegian healthcare and IT specialists to bring the first shared electronic medical-record system to the country. It’s an exciting role, and the project holds large potential for the future of healthcare in Norway.
Both at work and outside the office, I rely every day on the skills I learned at Gustavus. At first glance, majoring in philosophy and religion may not sound like a formula for success within a major software company, but my humanities education has prepared me with the necessary skills to succeed. I regularly need to express complicated concepts to people who do not speak English as their first language. All of the papers I wrote, the challenging conversations I had with professors, and the co-curricular activities that I took part in prepared me for working in this fast-paced industry.
More importantly, Gustavus prepared me to be a global citizen. As an ex-pat, I often find myself relying on the education I gained about other cultures, especially Scandinavian culture, to inform how I live with my new neighbors. Norwegian culture has a value called dugnad, which focuses on voluntary service for the community. During the COVID pandemic, the Norwegian government invoked dugnad to encourage the entire country to help protect the most vulnerable. I find this ties in well with Gustavus’s value of service. When I see the overwhelming support the alumni community gave Gustavus students returning to campus this fall, I see this value lived out.
I saw this support for Gustavus during my sophomore year, when I started working with the Office of Advancement as a class officer and student ambassador. My own giving began with a contribution to the senior class gift. Recently, I made a planned gift to the College. I learned about financial planning at a young age. When I was in seventh grade, my father, an ELCA pastor, took me to Thrivent to open my first mutual fund. After graduation, I spoke with a financial planner again about what I wanted my legacy to be, how I wanted to give back to institutions I care about even after my lifetime. It was clear during the course of these conversations that naming Gustavus as the beneficiary to one of my life insurance policies would allow me to continue helping the school that formed me into the person I am today.
A planned gift is something that Gusties of any age can make. There are various ways to make a future gift—with a life insurance policy, a retirement account, real estate, or appreciated securities. With careful planning, you can even increase your estate and reduce the tax burden for your heirs. For more information on making a planned gift, visit gustavus.plannedgiving.edu.