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Jean C. Goodwin Nelson '49

Dedicated Champion of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Jean C. Goodwin NelsonFor many, Jean C. Goodwin Nelson '49 is synonymous with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Through her drive, dedication and determination, she embedded herself in the essence of the University. She touched countless lives during her 23-year tenure as alumni director and through her continued involvement during her retirement.

Jean's legacy will live on through a bequest to the Philip and Jean C. Nelson Alumni Scholarship, which was established at the UW Oshkosh Foundation in 1991 for incoming UW Oshkosh freshmen whose parents or grandparents are graduates of the University. During the ensuing years, more than three dozen students have benefited from the scholarship fund.

In 1949, Jean earned a bachelor's degree from UW Oshkosh in English, with a secondary education major. As a student, she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi. She returned to campus in 1968 to serve as the University's alumni director.

During her tenure, the Alumni Association grew from a cramped, one-person office into the thriving organization it is today, based at the historic Pollock Alumni House. She oversaw the move to Pollock in 1971 and worked alongside Alumni Association board members to personally paint, wallpaper and refurbish the house for campus and alumni use.

Her contributions to the institution were immeasurable. During her tenure, Jean expanded alumni services and added programs, including a University Day for Women. She was famous for knowing the names and graduation years of alumni by heart.

In a 2008 Alumni News interview, Jean said, "I was fortunate to be able to work with people of all ages, from many decades. I was continually astonished and impressed with the range and value of the alumni I met."

Jean's commitment to UW Oshkosh was honored in 1985, with an Outstanding Service Award. In 1997, then Chancellor John E. Kerrigan presented Jean and her late husband, Philip Nelson, with the University's most prestigious award, the honorary doctorate. In 1996, the couple served as honorary co-chairs of UW Oshkosh's 125th-anniversary celebration.

After her retirement, Jean continued to stay active on campus through Homecoming; music, theatre and athletic events; and Learning in Retirement (LIR) offerings. She served as the leader and coordinator of two LIR classes: Reader's Choice and Currently Speaking. She was posthumously awarded the Robert L. Berner Teaching Excellence Award in 2011.

"It inspires me to never stop learning," Jean noted. "It is fun to continually discover, learn and share with the LIR members."

In the Oshkosh community, Jean served on the board of directors of the Winnebago County Historical Society, of which she was a founding member. She tirelessly advocated for the furnishing of the society's stately historic home base, the Morgan House. She also was involved with the Oshkosh Public Library, serving as president of the Friends of the Oshkosh Public Library. For many years, she also was active in the American Field Service.

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Contact the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Foundation
625 Pearl Ave. Oshkosh, WI 54901 • Email:
Phone: (920) 424-2178

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to UW Oshkosh Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate for its unrestricted use or purpose or designation of your choice.

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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Foundation [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use or purpose or designation of your choice."

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 UW Oshkosh Foundation 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 UW Oshkosh Foundation as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 UW Oshkosh 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 a third party where you agree to make a gift to UW Oshkosh Foundation and they, 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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