Bob Mantel '61
Bob Mantel did his homework before deciding to enroll in The College of Wooster. The first in his family to go to college, he carefully researched schools of different sizes and types before deciding that a small, coed liberal arts college would be right for him.
What tipped the scales in favor of Wooster?
"It was the faculty," he says emphatically. "They seemed energized and excited to be there, and they had a real commitment to teaching as their primary objective."
Bob arrived on campus with thoughts of going into the ministry (his first exposure to Wooster had been attending Presbyterian church camps there during high school), but during the course of his four years he discerned a different calling.
Memorable classes on "World War" and "Renaissance and Reformation" with Professor Aileen Dunham confirmed Bob's interest in history as a major, while Professor Gordon Shull's courses on international relations and U.S. foreign policy "brought history courses into the contemporary world" and began to steer Bob toward a career in international relations.
After graduating from Wooster, Bob went to Columbia University where he earned a master's degree in international affairs and met his future wife, Ida May. They married and moved to Washington, D.C. While there, Bob worked on national and international security issues at the Bureau of the Budget for several years before joining the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Senator Hubert Humphrey. Next stop was the State Department, where Bob was asked to establish a new office to analyze the worldwide arms trade. He spent the next 18 years at State in a variety of positions until his retirement.
Through the years Bob has remained connected to Wooster, participating in phonathons, guest lecturing at several alumni seminars, attending reunions and regional alumni events, and supporting The Wooster Fund. So when he was asked to serve on the Class of 1961's 50th Reunion committee, he readily agreed.
During the planning for the reunion, Bob and Ida May talked with Brad Cors, one of Wooster's development directors, about giving options that would allow them to create an endowed scholarship fund because "you can never have enough student aid." They decided a two-life estate note was the right vehicle to accomplish their philanthropic objectives.
An estate note is an irrevocable debt against the donor's estate (or in the case of a two-life note, against the estate of the person who lives longer). It can be designated for a scholarship, professorship, or other specific purpose, and the dollar amount of the note also counts toward reunion class gifts. Although signing an estate note does not create a current-year charitable deduction, the payment of the note after the donor's death does provide a charitable deduction for the estate.
There is no obligation to transfer assets during the donor's lifetime, but such payments against the note are not prohibited and are fully tax-deductible in the year that they are made. Bob and Ida May are making payments now because they would like to see their fund begin to pay out scholarships during their lifetimes.
"Wooster exposed me to so many different things," Bob says. "It gave me a global perspective, taught me how to think critically—how to get the facts, digest and analyze them, and reach conclusions." Wooster was "a wonderful environment that facilitated my growth and maturity—intellectually and socially."
Thanks to Bob and Ida May's generosity, students today and in the future will continue to gain the benefits of a Wooster education.