Mark J. Smith, retired CPA/PFS, CFP and CIMA, understands the challenges students face when paying for a college education.
One of three children with a single mother making ends meet as a waitress, the family focused on taking care of day-to-day necessities – not paying for college. Smith relied on the generosity of strangers who funded scholarships when he began his higher education journey at Iowa Central Community College.
“People were willing to invest in me – if it weren’t for those scholarships, I might not have gotten a degree,” he said. “I decided that if I were ever in the position to help someone receive an education, I would.”
When the time came, Metropolitan State University of Denver was a natural fit. Smith was impressed with what he describes as “an excellent education at a very fair price.” A loyal University donor for the last 15 years, Smith and his wife Tori recently made a planned gift, ensuring future Roadrunners have access to the same type of higher education opportunities.
“I relish and support MSU Denver’s approach to higher ed and there are a lot of students working hard to earn their degrees,” said Smith, who believes there is tremendous value in making a difference through estate planning. “We wanted to continue helping them get a great education after passing.”
The Smiths are leaving their legacy at MSU Denver through the Mark and Tori Smith Endowment, supporting College of Business student scholarships and success programs. A significant portion of the endowment will establish “fill the gap” scholarships, aiding students in paying for anything from tuition to housing, transportation and more. The remainder will meet the College of Business’s needs for increased student support programs.
“The College appreciates the Smith’s generous support over the years, as well as Mark’s connection with scholarship recipients,” said Ann Murphy, Ph.D., dean of MSU Denver’s College of Business. “This planned gift commitment will assist more students through an increased availability of scholarship funds and directly improve academic outcomes by bolstering wraparound services.”
Having lived in Colorado for 40+ years, the Smiths are passionate about giving back to the community that has given them so much.
“I have a steadfast belief that education is the key to getting out of poverty and maintaining a fruitful, productive life – it improves students’ overall well-being,” he said. “We want to ensure MSU Denver students with the desire and motivation to earn a degree have the support they need.”