When Mary Lynn (Swenson) Rettig ’79 was asked to join her 40-year Luther class reunion committee, she quickly agreed, knowing it would be a surefire way to reconnect with her classmates. She and her spouse, David, also saw the perfect opportunity to enact their mutual desire to establish an endowed fund to benefit her alma mater.
The Rettigs had already been working on their estate plan, thinking ahead to retirement, and decided to create a $1.5 million estate gift to Luther. But the next question was how did they want their gift to make a difference? Which Luther programs should they support? Mary, a history major, completed master’s and doctoral programs after graduating from Luther, in library science and education. The importance of educational resources and an endowment for Preus Library resonated with her, as did Luther’s Promise Scholarship program, which was created specifically to cover unmet financial need. After deliberation, she and David chose to divide their gift three ways: $750,000 would fund the Rettig/Swenson Distinguished Librarianship; $375,000 would fund the Rettig/Swenson Promise Scholarship; and $375,000 would become Board-designed funds, to be used, when the time comes, where the greatest need exists, at the discretion of Luther’s Board of Regents. The Rettigs were happy to have made the decision as to how their gift would be used, and to have completed their estate plan. And that it counted in Mary’s class reunion gift totals was a bonus!
Additionally, Mary and David decided to “enjoy” their will bequest now by also contributing current funds to the Promise Scholarship their gift will ultimately be endowing. Each spring, the college invites scholarship donors and their student recipients to a special on-campus luncheon to celebrate the Legacy Trust scholarship program. Donors and students build powerful connections at this event. David and Mary look forward to attending future Legacy Trust events and meeting their Promise Scholarship recipient. Mary is quick to say, “Luther was life-changing for me, and I want to do whatever I can to help make that experience available to others who will benefit from a Luther College education.”