Honoring His Love for SCU

Bill and Ruth Kahl

Ruth Kahl’s estate gift honors Bill’s legacy and supports students in need.

It started with a phone call. Bill, who oversaw sales from National Semiconductor’s Southern California office, called the company’s Northern California headquarters when Ruth, an inside sales rep, answered the phone. A few weeks later, they met up for a USC football game and, before long, were traveling between Northern and Southern California to spend time together.

After they got engaged—and just as Ruth moved to the Los Angeles area—National Semiconductor suddenly moved Bill to Northern California. “I moved down there and then right back here,” she says with a laugh. After the wedding, they bought a place in Los Altos where they settled into a pleasant routine, spending time with Bill’s sons and enjoying baseball, basketball, and football games together.

A few years later, there would be one additional relocation—this time to Hong Kong after Bill was tapped to run National Semiconductor’s Southeast Asia sales and marketing efforts. For Ruth, the move was an opportunity to complete her bachelor’s degree so she began taking classes at the University of Hong Kong. “Eventually we were going to move back to California because Bill’s stint was for only four years, so I contacted Father Coz, who was Santa Clara’s Study Abroad program director, to see about transferring.”

Ruth formed a close bond with Coz, welcoming him and a group of Santa Clara study abroad students to Hong Kong. When Ruth and Bill eventually returned to California, the then-37-year-old undergrad settled seamlessly into her studies, majoring in electrical engineering. “I’m five feet tall and 98 pounds and I’m wearing jeans, sneakers, and a backpack,” she recalls, “so I think my classmates thought I was around their age.”

After completing her degree in 1995, Ruth began a successful career in sales and marketing in the semiconductor industry. But now it was time for Bill to change course. “He was very goal-oriented—he kept a list of his life goals taped to the side of his computer,” she recalls. He ultimately completed a doctorate in education and began teaching courses in leadership and organizational development and management at Golden Gate University and San Jose State before landing at the Leavey School of Business, where he would spend a decade until his passing in 2011.

Ruth Kahl

Ruth with her best friend, Linda Lanzl, on a bench dedicated in Bill’s memory in 2018.

A beloved professor to generations of business students, Ruth wanted to honor Bill’s legacy by making a gift that acknowledges the role Santa Clara played in both of their lives. “One of my classmates really struggled to afford her tuition, and that stayed with me,” she says. Accordingly, her estate gift to establish the Ruth and Dr. William Theodore Kahl, Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide need-based support for students studying in the Leavey School of Business and the School of Engineering.

But Ruth has an additional way to memorialize her husband’s time at Santa Clara. Every Valentine’s Day, she plans a special lunch where she orders Bill’s favorite sandwich (a Togo’s Primo Italian sub) and heads to campus to sit on a bench near the business school that is dedicated in his memory. “He really was a great guy, and I miss him every day,” she says. “He spent ten years at the University and worked hard—it was his passion, and he loved it. It’s important to me that he be remembered, and helping students afford their education is a meaningful way for me to do that.”

Did someone in your life have a meaningful connection to Santa Clara University? Contact the Gift Planning team at 408-554-2108 or giftplanning@scu.edu to learn more about creating a lasting tribute through a memorial gift.

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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