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A Donor's Perspective: The Gift of Giving to GW, by Kathy and Les Megyeri
By Les and Kathy Megyeri
Facing one's mortality and undertaking estate planning are difficult topics to consider, but it is imperative that individuals choose their directives while they are still capable of making intelligent and meaningful decisions. Our recent commitment to make the George Washington University the beneficiary of our estate came about after a recent automobile accident, but our long affiliation with the school dates back to the late 1950s.
Les, a refugee to this country following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, came to the U.S. with an expectation of a free education as it is in Hungary - an assumption he quickly discovered was not the case. After being turned away from a nearby university because he could not afford tuition, Les sought financial aid from GW's then-Treasurer, Morris Hartfield. Somehow, the university arranged the necessary financing and Les enrolled at GW as an undergraduate in economics. In 1962, I met Les in Professor Hennigen's speech class in the basement of Lisner Auditorium. He was working part-time as a waiter (luckily, this provided him with two meals a day, albeit at 5 p.m. and midnight) and I later supported him through law school on my yearly salary of $4,700.
After we married, the two of us continued to amass five degrees at GW, so the school has been an intricate part of our lives for half a century. Les' first legal position, a clerkship in the U.S. General Accounting Office, resulted from a conversation with GW Law Professor John Cibinic, a government contracts expert who took an enormous amount of pride in placing his students in law firms and government agencies city-wide. The encouragement and involvement of this professor set my husband's career in motion.
As Les and I approach 70 years of age, we recognize the extent to which GW has impacted our lives and want to remain a part of the institution even after we pass away. We also appreciate the direction that GW is taking to establish itself as a nationally-renowned school of research and we hope to contribute to its success. For these reasons, we decided to make GW the beneficiary of our estate through a revocable trust and will.
The utmost latitude was given to us in regards to our gift. We discussed a number of worthy initiatives including scholarships, faculty and librarian positions, facility upgrades, and the deans' funds. In other words, the myriad of giving opportunities guarantees that one's desires for a lasting legacy will be met and reflect one's own unique circumstances and charitable objectives.
Eventually we decided on two initiatives that hold particular meaning to us: first, we established an endowed chair in Government Procurement Law and, second, we contributed to the existing Nash-Cibinic Professorship, which honors John Cibinic, the professor who made such an impact on Les' life. It must be noted that the entire process was directed with ease and utmost respect for our desires. The paperwork consisted of no more than a will being drawn and a confirmation of our asset portfolio. We worked with Rick Robertson, a member of GW's Planned Giving staff, and our attorney Frank S. Baldino, who each provided superb guidance to ensure our wishes were properly documented and witnessed.
And what have we gained? We now have peace of mind that should we, God forbid, not survive our next automobile accident, our estate matters have been settled and our charitable wishes met. The university will benefit from the fact that, not only did we meet at GW, but we were both able to make a comfortable life together from the education we received there. Additionally, we gained membership into the Heritage Society, a group of like-minded individuals who have chosen to leave a legacy at GW through their estate planning. We've been truly blessed by the school, its leadership, and its scholarship, and now it's our turn to say "Thank You" through our planned giving.
The seven-figure bequest in the estate plans of Leslie (BA '63, JD '68, MBA '80) and Kathryn (MA '69, MA '82) Megyeri is completing the Nash-Cibinic Professorship and establishing the Megyeri Chair in Government Procurement Law. These professorships will join 44 endowed faculty positions at GW Law.
The Nash-Cibinic Professorship in Government Procurement Law and the Megyeri Chair in Government Procurement Law will ensure that government procurement law, an academic discipline founded by GW Law in 1960, continues to grow in significance and impact within the Law School and nationally, in academia as well as in policy and practice.
Mr. Megyeri is president of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America. He came to the United States as a refugee following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He credits his success in this country especially to the legal training he received at the Law School from John Cibinic, who took great pride in placing his students in law firms and government agencies city-wide. Mrs. Megyeri enjoyed a long and successful teaching career, thanks to her graduate education at the GW School of Education and Human Development. They are grateful to have met each other in the basement of Lisner Auditorium when both were enrolled in the same speech class.
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The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes apply to federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.