Joand Fred Falkner
Purdue offers more than 2,000 undergraduate
research projects each year, according to the
Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research. It is
a point of pride that the College of Science provides
opportunities for undergraduates to conduct independent research, develop professional student-teacher
relationships, and apply experience in their field of study.
In the Department of Chemistry, research is an integral part of training chemists. Working closely
with faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate students majoring in chemistry
not only are exposed to what chemistry is, they begin to appreciate how new chemical knowledge is
obtained. Independent research helps students feel confident and competent when
performing tasks in their future career.
“In order to attract quality undergraduate students, you must offer
research opportunities,” says Fred Falkner (BS ’64).
To provide that opportunity, Falkner and his wife, Jo Falkner,
started the Falkner Fund for Undergraduate Research in
Chemistry. They already had made the decision
to provide for the College of Science through
their estate plans but wanted to see the
impact of their giving. They
accomplished this by funding a
portion of the endowment during
Thanks to Jo Falkner’s strong
finance background, they are able to do
this in the most cost-effective way. Instead of
writing a check, the Falkners chose to give from
an individual retirement account in order to
receive maximum tax benefits. Federal legislation
allows anyone 70-and-a-half or older to give money,
up to $100,000, directly from their IRA to a qualified
charity. These donations count toward the donor’s required
minimum distribution, but not toward their taxable income.
By keeping required minimum distributions out of one’s taxable income,
donors may be able to reduce Social Security benefit taxes and Medicare
premiums and even sustain a lower tax bracket. Additionally, those that
traditionally take the standard deduction can receive a tax benefit for their
The Falkners have enjoyed the opportunity to meet student recipients
over the years and hear about their experiences. Thank-you notes that
outline just how meaningful experience in the lab has been and exploring
new passions have further reinforced their decision to give.
“Jo and I never thought we would have the resources we have
today,” Falkner says. “We are happy to be able to give generously.”
If you would like to support undergraduate research, please see the attached reply
card or visit Science.purdue.edu to learn more about the College of Science’s
additional research opportunities. Contact Andrea Spahn-McGraw, director of advancement for the College of Science, at 765-496-3525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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