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Beloved Teacher to be Honored with Charitable Gift Annuity | SUNY Plattsburgh

Norman McGrattan ’52 had the late Marguerite Caldwell to thank for many things in his life, not the least of which was actually saving his life.

Caldwell, the bookkeeping and typing teacher with the Amsterdam City School District, suggested he take her typing class. It was 1940, and only girls took typing, the now-92-year-old McGrattan said. But his typing abilities kept him off the battlefield when he was drafted during World War II.

“No one could type,” he said. So instead of pulling a trigger, he was pushing keys and making dog tags. “Thousands of dog tags.”

After the war, McGrattan got a clerical job with General Electric on his former typing teacher’s recommendation, but “I was too outgoing to do clerical work,” he said. Instead, he left GE and enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh on the G.I. Bill, studying education. After graduating in 1952, he went on to teach — first eighth grade and then fifth — for 27 years.

“My joy was taking what I had learned at Plattsburgh and applying it to the public school system,” he said. “The paycheck was incidental. There’s a lot to offer at SUNY Plattsburgh. I realized how much I learned after I left. That’s the one thing you can’t take away from children — an education.”

McGrattan turned a dual affinity for both Marguerite Caldwell and his alma mater into an endowment to the college after being named executor to the late typing teacher’s estate. Caldwell died in 1988 after a career that spanned 50 years. As a result, he made a $100,000 charitable gift annuity to the Plattsburgh College Foundation in Caldwell’s name. The Marguerite Caldwell Endowment will support scholarships for SUNY Plattsburgh students from the Adirondack Park area.

“I think it’s marvelous because when I left Plattsburgh, they didn’t have an endowment program,” he said. “I’m very proud of the college.”

He said he owes so much to Caldwell.

“She was an influence on so many of our lives,” he said. And because of the gift annuity, both Caldwell and McGrattan will influence SUNY Plattsburgh students’ in perpetuity.

About the Gift

Norman McGrattan’s gift has been given as charitable gift annuity (CGA), and he received an immediate charitable income tax deduction for a percentage of his gift. The life income feature of the CGA means that every three months an annuity check arrives at Norman’s home that includes a generous interest return and is taxed at a discounted rate. As a donor, he appreciates this charitable giving feature, and has made a second CGA gift donation. The remainder of all of Norman McGrattan’s gifts will one day provide need based scholarships to students through the Marguerite Caldwell endowed scholarship fund.

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