Bill and Cheryl Sanderson: Charitable Remainder Trust

Bill and Cheryl Sanderson

Once upon a time, Bill Sanderson ’76 from Miles City, Montana, and Cheryl (Buckley) Sanderson ’76 from Los Angeles, California, were both attending Montana State — Bill a chemical engineering student and Cheryl a nursing student — when they went on a blind date to a sorority party…

…And they lived happily ever after. THE END.

Actually, that’s just the beginning of the Sandersons’ story together, and it is still being written. A big part of that story, like its beginning, involves Montana State University. From being Bobcat football fans to serving as a Bobcat mentor to volunteering on the MSU Engineering Advisory Council and the MSU Alumni Foundation Board of Governors, the Sandersons stayed connected to their university after graduation and all throughout their careers.

After graduating from MSU with his chemical engineering degree, Bill was employed by Universal Oil Products as a technical advisor, which took the couple around the world to advise refinery startups and other field-related technical activities. Bill later joined the Champlin Petroleum Company (now Valero Energy Corporation) at the Wilmington, California, refinery where he held a variety of technical and commercial management positions, including manager of process engineering and manager of economics and planning.

In 1988, Bill joined Purvin & Gertz, a worldwide energy consulting company, where he consulted on a variety of petroleum-related topics for the firm’s West Coast and Asia Pacific clients from their Long Beach, California, office. In 1997, he was transferred to the firm’s London office to direct consulting activities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and was elected to the firm’s board of directors. Bill became the president and CEO of the firm in 2000 and served in that capacity until 2011 when Purvin & Gertz was acquired by IHS, Inc. He became the vice president and global leader of downstream energy consulting and oil market research at IHS Energy where he served until his retirement in 2014.

Cheryl was employed after graduating with her nursing degree from MSU by the Kalispell Regional Hospital as a graduate nurse while studying to take her state nursing board exam. She worked as a registered nurse in Southern California and a medical-surgical nurse in the Chicago area. After she and Bill were married in 1978, she worked as an RN in various locations around the world where Bill’s job took them. In 1987, Cheryl joined a fertility practice and was certified in reproductive endocrinology where she worked until 1996 before returning to medical surgery nursing until her retirement in 2010.

The Sandersons have given back through service and financially to MSU throughout the years. Their biggest desire is to provide a pathway for students to pursue an education, especially Montana students. They choose to support scholarships because they value the education they received at MSU and want to directly impact students by helping to make college affordable. They also have an appreciation and understanding of the value that endowments provide through stable funding in perpetuity.

The Sandersons have also created a legacy through planned giving to Montana State University — funding endowments that will keep their story, and their impact, unending.

Through their will, the Sandersons are writing their own page of Montana State history. They used planned giving to benefit their financial situation, provide for their heirs and support the organizations they care about, including Montana State University.

In 2018, Bill and Cheryl established a planned gift structured as a charitable remainder annuity trust (CRT).

The CRT allows the Sandersons to provide an annuity income to their heirs for the duration of their heirs’ lives and enables them to provide for three MSU programs that align with their values and philanthropic goals. Through the proceeds of their remaining estate, they will increase their current endowments for Presidential Scholarships and Hilleman Scholars, and will establish a chair in the chemical engineering department to provide permanent support for engineering education.

“Both Cheryl and I feel very strongly that higher education is important for individuals to reach their full potential in whatever pursuits they choose and as a foundation to become lifetime learners. In our cases, MSU provided the opportunity for us to pursue the futures we envisioned for ourselves. We were both incredibly fortunate to receive affordable, first-rate educations that propelled us to success in our careers. Our philanthropy is driven by the desire to give back to future MSU students some of the benefits that MSU provided to us.”
— Bill Sanderson

The Sandersons’ giving says a lot about their values and life story. What do you want your story to say?

Contact Kevin Brown at 406-994-4815 or today to learn more about the benefits of charitable remainder trusts.

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