Designing A Gift for the Future

Austin architect Susan Benz pays it forward for students
Redding Family

I have empathy for students who don’t have the financial strength to pay for their college education, so I really wanted to pay it forward.” — Susan Benz

As a preteen Susan Benz, an alumna of the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, would spend her free time reading her mother’s home and garden magazines. It was an early clue into a future career.

“When my siblings were playing in the yard, I was drawing floor plans and designing my dream home,” she said. She particularly loved Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes.

Today Susan is the principal of Benz Resource Group, an Austin project management firm focused on client representation. She believes the School of Architecture is a game changer in the field and credits her education for instilling the critical thinking skills she needed to succeed. To help future generations have similar opportunities, Susan set up a scholarship for architecture students by designating UT as a beneficiary of her retirement account.

“I was able to go to UT because I received financial support through scholarships, grants and student loans,” Susan said. “I have empathy for students who don’t have the financial strength to pay for their college education, so I really wanted to pay it forward.”

While listening to a presentation about gift and estate planning, Susan realized how easy establishing a planned gift can be. “This is something I can do,” she said. “It really is painless.”

And Susan believes attracting more talented architecture students is a win for everyone. “UT says, ‘what starts here changes the world,’ and that’s especially true in architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning. Whether it’s the building where you live or work or the park where you go to recreate — good design makes the world a better place.”

 

 

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