Brad Kaplan arrived at Metropolitan State University of Denver broke and disheartened after his initial college experience as a nameless face packed into overflowing lecture halls. But on the first day of classes, the 1982 Accounting graduate knew he’d chosen well.
“My professors were always there to make sure I was on the right path,” said Kaplan.
To ensure future MSU Denver students have access to the same transformational opportunities, Kaplan and his wife Judy established the Brad & Judy Kaplan Scholarship; the endowed fund is the largest planned gift from an alum in the University’s history.
Upon their passing, funds will be distributed annually to the College of Business, the women’s softball program and the President’s Innovation Fund, in perpetuity, through a donor-advised fund. A DAF lets donors contribute to one larger, invested fund; the returns generated are disbursed to charitable organizations as determined by the donor. Kaplan says a DAF offered them the flexibility to give how they wanted to support their passions, one of which is education.
“Education has always been important to me,” said Kaplan. “In addition to academic studies, college teaches people how to work with others and think critically.”
Beyond the planned gift, Kaplan says it’s important to him and Judy to stay involved at the University – not just write a check and walk away. And with Brad as the treasurer of the Alumni Association Board, chair of the College of Business Advisory Board and a student mentor and lecturer, and both as frequent donors and lovers of women’s softball, they are always doing something to make a difference in the lives of MSU Denver students.
Annie Van Wetzinga, women’s head softball coach at MSU Denver, says the Kaplans’ financial support has positively affected student-athletes on and off the field, but the most impactful contribution has been their presence and time. “They are often in the homestands cheering on our players, and Brad makes himself available for mentoring – nothing is more valuable than the time Brad and Judy are willing to share with us.”
Left speechless by the generosity of the Kaplans’ planned gift, Van Wetzinga says it will be transformational for Roadrunners across campus and “serve as an example and path for alums who want to make a similar impact at MSU Denver.”
Ann Murphy, Ph.D., dean of MSU Denver’s College of Business and the person responsible for encouraging Kaplan to return to the nest in the 1990s as a member of the College of Business Dean Advisory Council, is also grateful for their ongoing support.
“Brad has been an amazing alum, involved in alumni activities and helping build our College of Business Alumni Mentoring program,” said Murphy. “This incredible gift from Brad and Judy will provide direct, ongoing support for scholarships, mentoring programs and other student-engagement activities, leaving a legacy at MSU Denver.”
Kaplan says he had nothing when he and Judy got married three months before graduating – not even a job. He credits the life he’s had to the education he received, and they are thrilled to make a difference in MSU Denver programs and students’ lives for years to come.
“We want to help as many students as possible – it’s wonderful we could put something together for future Roadrunners.”