New endowments to support MSU farms and IAT student scholarships
MSU alumnus Carl Lindquist and Joy Vietinghoff have documented a planned gift to create four new endowments – two in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and two in the College of Natural Science.
For Carl Lindquist, a 1963 zoology alumnus, coming to Michigan State University (MSU) almost didn’t happen.
Hailing from outside of Chicago, Lindquist graduated in the bottom quarter of his high school class. Even though he was told he was not college material, he went to community college for two years and worked to increase his grade point average. Then he was accepted to Michigan State.
“My father was an accountant and part of the deal was that he paid for part of my college and I’d take accounting courses,” Lindquist said.
However, at the time Lindquist had other dreams — he decided to major in zoology.
“I liked the outdoors and animals. I wanted to be a doctor, but I ran out of money and ran out of grades. Money was a definite problem back in those days.”
Lindquist worked as much as possible while attending college to help fund his education. His father also took out an education loan, which Lindquist had to pay back.
“After school, my father wanted me to work for him. And I did for a while. Then I went elsewhere and eventually came back. I was scheduled to work for him full time. He suddenly had an aortic aneurysm and was sick during tax season. I was 23 years old and had to run his tax projects. I learned pretty quick, the hard way,” he said.
Lindquist has been an accountant ever since. Together, he and his partner, Joy Vietinghoff, a 1971 accounting graduate from Northern Illinois University, have been accountants, first in Roselle, Illinois and since 1999 in Viroqua, Wisconsin.
However, accounting isn’t their only profession. They also own and operate a farm.
“In all honesty, we’ve been very lucky,” Lindquist said. “Initially many of my accounting clients in Illinois were old time farmers that owned all the land around Schaumburg, Illinois. I saw these guys didn’t have any cash to speak of, but they turned around and sold land for big dollars and built an estate. Being an accountant, I decided I wanted to buy land to build wealth. I got lucky and bought a farm in Viroqua and we’ve added to it over the years.”
Vietinghoff and her aunt worked for Lindquist during her college years. She worked for the accounting firm during tax season and on the farm during the summer. They found that they had similar interests. And as they’ve said, before they knew it, 40 years went by and they are still together.
“I grew up on a dairy farm,” Vietinghoff said. “So, I’m very much into agriculture. I started working with Carl on his farm in Wisconsin years back.”
Initially, Lindquist started farming 400 acres. Over the years, he added about 300 acres and later sold some of it. Today, he and Vietinghoff own approximately 650 acres that they rent as farmland that produces primarily corn and beans.
“We actively farmed our land in Wisconsin for many years. We had cattle, hogs, chickens—it reached the point that I was told I could no longer farm due to my age. I still miss it,” Lindquist said.
In recognition of their appreciation and support of MSU, Lindquist and Vietinghoff have provided a generous future gift to MSU through a charitable bequest in their estate plans, which includes their land to go to MSU. This gift will create two new endowments in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) to support the MSU farms and Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT) student scholarships. In addition, their gift will create two endowments in the College of Natural Science to support undergraduate student scholarships and an endowed professorship.
Supporting farm infrastructure
The Carl Lindquist Endowment for MSU Farms will help maintain the equipment and infrastructure of the MSU farms. As farm owners, Carl and Joy have first-hand knowledge that a farm always needs more resources. They understand the importance of maintaining farm equipment and technology and the high costs associated with both.
“A farm never has enough equipment, never has enough supplies,” Lindquist said. “I would like to see MSU have cutting-edge equipment as one of the top agricultural schools in the country. And help provide students with a degree to go forward with life and be successful.”
This new endowment will ensure that the equipment at the MSU farms reflect current industry standards ultimately allowing faculty and staff to train students with modern technologies. The MSU farms include the south campus teaching and research centers for dairy cattle, beef cattle and beef cow-calf, swine, sheep, poultry and horses. Each of these centers are located within three miles of MSU’s central campus. Animal herds at these farms are maintained for teaching, extension and research purposes.
Providing student scholarships
In addition, their gift will create three endowed funds to support students both in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and in the College of Natural Science.
As a transfer student from a community college, Lindquist keenly understands the financial hardships faced by transfer students as they work to afford tuition at a four-year institution. They wish to help ease that burden by creating endowed student scholarships.
The Carl Lindquist Agricultural Technology Scholarship endowment will provide scholarships for students enrolled in the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT), MSU’s certificate degree program. The IAT began as the Michigan Agricultural College short course in 1894. Since then, the IAT has been supporting workforce development and agricultural industries in Michigan.
The IAT harnesses MSU’s partnerships across Michigan at 13 locations and with several community colleges to serve the citizens of Michigan. The institute is a two-year program open to Michigan students that develops career-ready graduates through intensive, hands-on learning and skills enhancement in animal sciences, plant sciences, and electrical technology.
“I want to provide a scholarship for someone who is going to college for two years,” Lindquist said. “I want to give somebody else an opportunity for a good education – the same opportunity I had.”
The endowment will provide scholarship support for duel enrolled community college students eager to learn regionally relevant, agricultural training in some of Michigan’s highest demand industries. IAT students receive agricultural training from MSU faculty at an affordable cost.
Because they appreciate the importance of attracting the finest faculty possible to teach students and conduct transformative research, their gift will also create two endowments in the College of Natural Science, where Lindquist earned his bachelor’s degree: the Carl Lindquist Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship and the Carl Lindquist Endowed Research Professorship.
“I made my estate plan match his – our land and such will all go to Michigan State because it’s such a great place!” Vietinghoff explained.
Making the gift
“We had talked about donating to Michigan State for a long time and didn’t know how to do it,” she said. “We were on a Michigan State [cruise] vacation and met an MSU planned gift officer on the ship. Sitting on the ship one day, we talked about donating to Michigan State and didn’t know how to do it. She said, I can help. She said you go to an attorney and we’ll send you the language and it will all be done. And that’s how it all happened.”
Lindquist and Vietinghoff recommend for anyone considering a planned gift should talk to MSU advancement staff.
“We didn’t know where to start. The MSU planned gift staff gave us some options and we decided what felt right for us. The MSU staff have been wonderful. The attention we have been given makes us feel special – it’s appreciated today in our lifetime and it will go forward after we’re gone,” Vietinghoff said.
A planned gift is a way to advance the common good — an opportunity to make a lasting impact and benefit Spartans in the future.
“We did this to pass it forward. We’ve been very lucky and hopefully we can spark that in other people to be successful and work hard, and know there are people out there supporting them. I think because state funding and everything else has been cut back, individuals need to step-up and give where we can.”
Lindquist and Vietinghoff enjoy coming back to campus for football games and other events.
“Through our gift we have been invited back to attend many MSU functions which has helped keep us in touch with this incredible university,” she added.