It was destiny and pigskin that determined LTC (R) Michael W. Colbert ’73 (USAR) would attend West Point.
Michael Colbert was a senior in high school when he attended an Army v. Boston College football game in 1968. His father was a proud BC graduate, but Michael’s neighbor in Dedham, Mass., was COL Jack Dewar ’61, who encouraged his young acquaintance to consider the Academy.
At the game, a friend of Michael’s father asked where the young man planned to attend college the following fall. “I’m going to go to whichever school wins this football game,” the young Michael replied. Army won the game, 58 to 25. “That was the real reason I went to West Point,” Michael says today from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Now Michael and his wife Kathleen have chosen to create a planned gift for the Academy, taking advantage of a new rule allowing transfers from an IRA to a life-income plan to count as a qualified charitable distribution.
“It’s a very simple, easy, direct way to give that can be done quickly,” Michael says. “You don’t even have to write a check.”
In urging fellow alumni to consider making a planned gift, Michael notes that many activities that make a West Point education unique are funded by graduates. These Margin of Excellence programs allow the Academy to remain competitive in attracting high-quality cadet candidates and enable cadets to achieve their highest potential.
Some of Michael’s extracurricular activities at the Academy included playing on an undefeated Plebe soccer team and serving as the “voice of Army hockey” on WKDT radio.
“I want to help support all activities that make cadets the well-rounded people they are,” he says.
Making a planned gift to West Point is all the easier for Michael today because he recently donated his class ring for the Class of 2023 Ring Melt. “I think for most of us, when we think of our class rings, that’s probably our most important possession. I figure if I can give away the class ring, I can give anything away,” he says.
After graduating from West Point and before starting a career in finance, Michael served in Germany as part of a tactical nuclear missile unit. Germany is also where he met and married Kathleen, his wife of 46 years. The couple returned to Germany this spring before attending Michael’s 50th class reunion at the Academy.
Still active with longtime friends from Company C-3, Michael knows a gift to West Point reflects the Academy’s best traditions. No matter what form a gift takes, supporting West Point is worthwhile, Michael says.
“West Point instills the idea of thinking of others,” he says. “We think of helping each other, helping others, sharing, and giving back.”
“You, too, can be a philanthropist,” he adds. “You don’t have to be ultra-wealthy. Every contribution can be meaningful.”