Bob Kaiser ’64 and Jim Kelly ’64 Plan for the Future
Bob Kaiser ’64 and Jim Kelly ’64 recently returned to Saint Peter’s University to celebrate their 50th class reunion. It may have been awhile since they have been back on campus, but alma mater has never been far from their minds. Both Kaiser and Kelly believe in the importance of paying it forward in order to give back some of what was provided to the both of them. They both decided to do this through the form of a planned gift to Saint Peter’s University.
Recently you celebrated your 50th Reunion. How would you describe the weekend, and the time spent on campus and reminiscing with classmates?
[BK] It was a pleasure to see how the campus has changed while the school has remained constant to its objective of providing an excellent Jesuit education to hard working and focused first generation students — very similar to those who graduated in the Class of 1964. I also enjoyed seeing close friends who rode the Hudson Tubes with me almost every day for four great years.
[JK] A good time was had by all! I was able to see old buddies who have had great success in life and maintained their wonderful sense of humor along the way. I also had the opportunity to spend time with classmates whom I never spent much time with in my school years due to time limitations such as work and sporting commitments. I am very proud to be a part of such a talented group of people.
The Alumni staff provided us with the opportunity to enjoy many group activities that allowed us to interface with students at Saint Peter’s who were very impressive. Touring the campus with students who praised residence life and seeing the Mac Mahon Student Center were highlights of the weekend. We were also treated to a tour of Jersey City itself. The tour guide was a fellow alumnus, John Hallanan III ’03, and he was incredibly knowledgeable.
What is your first/favorite memory of Saint Peter’s?
[BK] My all-time favorite memory from my days at Saint Peter’s was when I established the Crew team. I had always wanted to do that and it was a great accomplishment for both me and my teammates!
[JK] In the summer of 1960, my mother and I met with Tommy Smith who was then the director of admissions at Saint Peter’s (this was before he became mayor of Jersey City). Tommy, with Mom’s approval, convinced me to attend day school at Saint Peter’s and to major in mathematics rather than accounting. This was one of the most important decisions of my life since my degree in mathematics gave me the confidence and the ability to enter into a career with a main frame computer manufacturing and consulting company (Sperry Univac) where I excelled both in technology development and sales and marketing. Were it not for Tommy and my Mom, I never would have enrolled in the day school. Looking back, I don’t think I would have been able to stand the grind of night school for seven years while commuting to New York City for an “office job.” They changed my life for the better that day.
What is your vision for Saint Peter’s University?
[BK] I believe that education is the answer to many of today’s social problems. Saint Peter’s is leading the way by fostering diversity, common goals and a sense of shared accomplishments within its student body. Society has changed and so has Saint Peter’s. Yet, the University has never wavered from its mission of providing a college education to students who have the desire and ability to succeed and contribute to society in the future.
[JK] Yes! The development of the whole person and the ability to reinvent oneself over and over is the capstone of a Jesuit education. These principles should be maintained while Saint Peter’s grows into the future along with Jersey City. The next century will be the best ever for both the University and Jersey City. We need to think big!
Why did you decide to provide for Saint Peter’s in your estate plan?
[BK] After providing a good education to my children, who all have good jobs and are successfully raising their families, I wanted to give back to an institution that gave me the educational tools, directions and values to be happily married, raise a loving family and have a rewarding and satisfying career. My parents’ goal was for me to graduate from college and the three of us worked hard to meet monthly tuition payments. Today, with the costs of tuition rising beyond a lower income family’s ability to cover the expenses themselves, I want to help a student with similar educational goals achieve a degree and go on to a chosen career with a lower burden of debt. I have met some of the students who I have helped as a result of my gifts and they were very grateful.
[JK] When I look at all the wonderful things that have happened to me in life because of Saint Peter’s, I cannot help but think that I owe consideration to others behind me at the University so that they will also be given a chance at a wonderful, fulfilling life. The return on investment (ROI) that my education at Saint Peter’s has given to me is incredible and I want to give back so that others can have the same opportunities that I had. I believe that to do otherwise would be selfish and inconsiderate of me.
I always like to say, as they taught me in Ranger training in the U.S. Army, “when you get over the wall, throw the rope back over the wall so that the next person can get over the wall.”
What would you say to someone who was thinking about making a similar gift to the University?
[BK] I established the Kaiser Family Endowed Scholarship in 1999. When issued, it currently pays less than 10 percent of the annual tuition. However, when combined with other donors’ gifts, it will make a significant difference in student lives. Including Saint Peter’s in my estate plan will help to increase the scholarship’s available funds. This will be my legacy to future students.
[JK] Be generous to alma mater. Many people at the University helped you become who you are today.
Planned giving was of great consideration to me. It helps those you leave behind avoid the negative implications of the “estate tax.” These negative effects can be mollified or even eliminated via charitable donations at the time of your death. As always it is best to consult your accountant or financial advisor but making plans now can help you provide for others in the future.
Bob Kaiser received a Bachelor of Science in economics from Saint Peter’s. After college, while waiting to enter the Army, he attended graduate school at City University of New York where he received a Master of Science in economics. Kaiser retired from GlaxoSmithKline in 2001 and went on to open his own consulting firm, Kaiser Financial Solutions. He and his wife of 48 years, Kathy, live in Chester Springs, PA. They have three children and 10 grandchildren.
Jim Kelly received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Saint Peter’s and a MBA from Rutgers University. He was a Battery Commander in the U.S. Army from 1964-1966. Kelly retired from Unisys Corporation in 2000. He and his wife Carol live in Dana Point, CA. Kelly has four happy and successful children.
Interested in learning more about gift planning? Visit saintpeters.edu/giftplanning or contact Ana Cravo, director of planned giving, at (201) 761-6104 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.