Honoring Your Inspirations

Michael Bryam and Ann Smead

Michael Bryam '74 and his wife, Ann Smead

Michael Byram '74 understands the impact of philanthropy. After his service as CEO of MedLogic Global Corp., he spent six years as president of the University of Colorado Foundation. He realizes the Naval Academy needs private funds to reach its potential.

"The Academy can't fulfill its mission without significant financial support from alumni," he said. "A financial gift can be the difference between excellence and mediocrity."

Byram and his wife, Ann Smead, are true partners in supporting the Academy. "We don't give gifts unless the other is involved. She's just as committed to the Academy as I am. She realizes this is an important part of the future of our country."

Most recently, the two have planned an estate gift via an IRA beneficiary designation. By making the Naval Academy Foundation a beneficiary of one of their IRA accounts, the Foundation will receive a gift from the account after the couple's lifetimes. They made the gift in honor of two people who they believe have had a positive effect on their lives and the Academy.

Michael Bryam and Ann Smead

The late Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale '47, USN (Ret.), was an inspiration to Byram since childhood.

"We want to honor who they are and what they did," said Byram. In this case, the gift honors the late Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale '47, USN (Ret.), and Naval Academy Political Science Professor Emeritus Robert Rau.

Stockdale, best known for the extraordinary bravery he displayed while a prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton for more than seven years, has been an inspiration to Byram since childhood. "He's one of the reasons that, from five years old, I wanted to go to the Naval Academy," said Byram. "He was not immortal, he knew that. He never viewed himself as above anyone else. But I've never met anyone who knew him who didn't have the most profound respect for him."

Rau was one of Byram's most influential Naval Academy professors.

"He had the ability to challenge you to understand more than just the words on a page," said Byram. "He took the time to help a kid who was searching for direction."

Rau encouraged Byram to attend the Thunderbird School of Global Management for graduate school, where Byram became interested in business and studied Chinese.

Robert Rau

Byram honored Naval Academy Political Science Professor Emeritus Robert Rau with his gift. Rau had a lasting impact on Byram's life.

"My path in life changed," said Byram, "All because of one person."

It's in that spirit that Byram said he and Smead continue their support of the Academy.

"We're blessed to be able to give," he added. "But we've received so much more than we've been able to give financially. The greatest opportunity is seeing your gift in action. When you see these midshipmen and the enthusiasm they have for serving our country, there's nothing that can replace that."

Has someone at the Naval Academy inspired you? Consider making a tribute or memorial gift in their honor. It's a meaningful way to support the Naval Academy Foundation while honoring someone important in your life. To learn more, contact Patti Bender at 410-295-4186 or plannedgiving@usna.com.


© United States Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the United States Naval Academy Foundation 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 the United States Naval Academy Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 274 Wood Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21402, 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 the Naval Academy Foundation or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

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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, 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 the Naval Academy Foundation 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 the Naval Academy Foundation 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 the Naval Academy Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the Naval Academy Foundation 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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