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Continuing Influence

Peter Ayers Nickerson

Peter Ayers Nickerson

The late Peter Ayers Nickerson, a beloved UB faculty member who spent nearly 50 years teaching in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has given $4.5 million to the school through a bequest in his will.

Nickerson’s gift will endow a faculty position, the Peter A. Nickerson, PhD, Professor and Chair in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, where he taught for nearly 50 years. John E. Tomaszewski, SUNY Distinguished Professor, has been named the first Nickerson chair. The remaining gift will create the Peter A. Nickerson, PhD, Dean’s Fund at the Jacobs School, which will ensure the academic priorities Nickerson held dear are funded for years to come.

Nickerson’s generosity did not surprise any who knew him. To Nickerson, teaching was not just a job; it was his life’s passion.

“Peter gave so much of himself to the university during his lifetime, and his legacy at UB will truly be cemented through this transformational gift,” notes Wendy Irving, associate vice president of individual and planned giving. “His students and his academic work were so important to him, and now these priorities will continue to benefit from his generosity.”

“Peter was revered by his students, many of whom stayed in touch with him long after leaving UB,” says Michael Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“His legacy of love for education and serving his students will live on through the department chair and dean’s fund named for him. This gift was his way of helping future students who he wouldn’t have the pleasure of knowing.”

“This love for UB, the campus, the faculty, the students, the academic life was to define Peter as time went on. He was Mr. UB,” says Reid Heffner, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences.

In September, the UB community held a memorial celebration of Nickerson, who died February 2, 2017 at the age of 75. Several of his fellow faculty members and staff colleagues spoke about his many accomplishments during his career. As Heffner puts it, “Peter was head of practically everything,” in his department and throughout UB.

Primarily, Nickerson will be remembered by those who knew him for his kindness and love of teaching. He ran a student-centered classroom in which students researched and taught topics to each other under his guidance. Students also talk about his popular undergraduate honors seminar—called “What Did They Die From?”—that studied disease by delving into the biographies and deaths of famous people. Perhaps most of all, they remember the snacks Nickerson would bring to evening seminars, guaranteeing none of them went hungry while in class over the dinner hour.

And with his final act of extraordinary generosity, he will be remembered for generations by the institution he cherished.

You can support UB in areas that matter most to you. Contact Ms. Wendy M. Irving at (716) 881-7484 or to learn more about ways of creating a meaningful, lasting legacy at UB.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the University at Buffalo 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, devise, and bequeath to the University at Buffalo Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit education corporation, headquartered in Buffalo, New York, the (sum of $_____) or (_____% of my estate) or (the property described herein) or (the remainder of my estate) to benefit the University at Buffalo."

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 University at Buffalo 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 the University at Buffalo 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 University at Buffalo 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 University at Buffalo where you agree to make a gift to the University at Buffalo 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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