Hubble’s Mr. Fix-It Engineers Generous Gift to SCU

Frank Cepollina

Frank Cepollina

Ask inventor and engineer Frank J. “Cepi” Cepollina ’59 about his groundbreaking work that led to repairing satellites in outer space and he’ll tell you it started with fixing tractors on his grandfather’s farm in Alameda.

“I would tear them apart to figure out how they worked, what was broken, and some practical way of keeping the tractor running,” says Cepollina.

That quizzical nature led him to enroll at Santa Clara University, the first son in his family to attend college.

“It formed within me a philosophy that says nothing is impossible if you try hard enough,” he says of his grueling studies at SCU, where he majored in mechanical engineering.

By Cepollina’s senior year, the Space Race with the Soviet Union had already begun. So when SCU’s chair of mechanical engineering arranged for him to attend a preview of “the state of rocketry” at nearby Lockheed Martin, an exciting new world opened up.

His introduction to futuristic technology sent Cepollina to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, where he pioneered the concept of in-orbit satellite servicing, first by fixing the revolutionary Hubble Space Telescope. For his achievements, Cepollina was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003.

Meanwhile, his love of Santa Clara inspired his son, Joseph Cepollina ’95 (married to Alyson Cepollina ’94), to become a Bronco.

In 1999, the senior Cepollina established the Frank Cepollina Family Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate engineering students without the financial means to access SCU.

This year, he expanded his commitment with a generous bequest intention from his estate that will increase affordability and accessibility to engineering students.

“The essence of what SCU brought to me was the spirit of innovation,” says Cepollina, a new member of the University’s Thomas I. Bergin Legacy Society. “We must focus on maintaining within students that spirit to come up with solutions that have never been thought of before.”

Just like Frank Cepollina, you too can support innovation. Learn more about his story. Or, contact the Gift Planning team at giftplanning@scu.edu or 408-554-2108 to learn how a planned gift can help create educational opportunities at SCU.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Santa Clara University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Santa Clara University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-1400, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to SCU or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property, or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to SCU as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to SCU as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and SCU where you agree to make a gift to SCU and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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