Prior to attending her Class of 1966 reunion, Judy Graef had already arranged for a gift to Montclair State University through a bequest in her will. "Then I learned of an even better option," she says. "Each of us is required by law to take a minimum distribution from our IRA after reaching the age of 70½. A law was passed allowing all or part of that distribution to be sent directly as a charitable gift without federal or state income tax being collected, which is a benefit for both parties."
Judy has directed her gift to fund emergency scholarships for students in need who have successfully completed three years of their education but have hit a financial roadblock which could prevent them from attaining a degree. "It is surprising to learn the numbers of students who are close to that goal but life's circumstances have interfered," she says. "The scholarship is named 'The Pay It Forward Scholarship' in hopes that the recipient(s) would remember the good will attached and help another individual at some point in his or her life."
Now retired after a 38-year career in public school education, Judy enjoys photography, gardening, reading, traveling and birding — she is a life member of the New Jersey Audubon Society. She has also raised and shown English Setters since she was 15, breeding 60 American Kennel Club champions of record and serving on the English Setter Association of America board of directors for many years.
"Legacy gifts are important whenever they are made," concludes Judy, "but for me there is special joy in knowing how my gift impacts real students during my lifetime. I encourage anyone who can to make a campus visit and see the explosion of buildings and to learn more about the fantastic expanding opportunities this fine institution is providing its undergraduate and graduate students. A special thank you goes to Ely Santoni for reaching out to reconnect me to my MSU roots and for providing the necessary guidance to make this gift a reality."