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Rensselaer Alumni Magazine Winter 2005-06
Feature Articles President's View At Rensselaer Class Notes Features Making a Difference Rensselaer Milestones Staying Connected In Memoriam
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Magnifying Giving

John Shaw ’67 with his Patroon Scholars (pictured left to right) Susan Remondi ’09, David Strott ’09, Michael Flynn ’09, Everett Bradford ’09, Sharon Vuong ’09. Photo by Kris Qua

To encourage philanthropy, a number of companies offer employees the opportunity to increase the value of their charitable giving through corporate gift matching programs. One Rensselaer alumnus was surprised to learn just how much such a program can magnify the power of giving.

John Hill Shaw III ’67 attended Rensselaer on a full-tuition scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He enjoyed a successful career with the Exxon Corporation, spending 20 years in Asia and retiring at age 55.

“I believe that education is very important,” says Shaw, whose wife, Joanna, is a native of Malaysia. They provided for the education of three members of her family at universities in New Zealand and the United States. “It has been fulfilling,” he says, “to see the impact on their lives.”

After hearing about The Rensselaer Plan and its transformation of his alma mater in recent years, Shaw decided it was time to travel back to Troy to see for himself. He toured new facilities, met with faculty and students, and mingled with fellow Rensselaer alumni, including Ray Ash ’60. Ash, chairman of the Patroon Scholars Program of the Rensselaer Annual Fund, told Shaw about a great opportunity to support students. Through the Patroon Scholars Program, a donor makes a commitment to support an individual student throughout his or her four years at Rensselaer.

The news for Shaw, however, was that as a retiree of Exxon Corporation, he could take advantage of a three-to-one match through the ExxonMobil Foundation’s Educational Matching Gift Program. He decided that he couldn’t wait for his estate to help Rensselaer students and so provided Patroon Scholar support for five undergraduate students for the next four years. Shaw enjoyed meeting them at the annual Celebration of Student Support in December.

“Just look at the numbers,” Shaw says. “I send RPI a check as a gift. I reduce my federal taxes, so I reduce my out-of-pocket cost. ExxonMobil matches my gift three-to-one, and RPI receives an amount for four times my own gift. What a deal!” Shaw says. “I couldn’t afford not to do it.”

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