University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
October 16, 2008
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman, USA Director of Public Relations, (251) 460-6360
Campaign Leadership

Matching Program for Life Insurance Policy Premiums
Alumni, Current and Retired Faculty, Staff Eligible for Match through March 2009
David Tressler, Ben Samel, and Vera Reed
USA alumni David Tressler, '78, seated left, and Vera Reed, '96, seated right, discuss the details of a matching program for life insurance policy premiums for policies given to USA with Ben Samel, standing, director of leadership gifts and planning for USA's Office of Development and Alumni Relations. Tressler leads Tressler Financial Group/AXA Advisors LLC. Reed is a partner at Horne LLP.

The University of South Alabama is expanding its current matching gift program to include life insurance policies, allowing alumni, current and retired faculty and staff to use life insurance as an option for giving to USA.

Each qualified donor is eligible for a match of up to $5,000 over five years. For example, a donor who makes a $5,000 endowment pledge at $1,000 a year for five years will qualify for matching funds for each $1,000 payment up to $5,000. The deadline to qualify for the matching funds is March 2009.

USA Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Dr. Joseph F. Busta Jr. said this life insurance program is a good way for those who want to be part of the Campaign USA program, the University’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign that seeks to raise $75 million for USA programs, faculty, students and construction. Campaign USA was launched in March 2006 and, to date, has raised $72.8 million.

The donor would choose to make a pledged, tax-deductible, unrestricted gift to USA, and the University would then purchase a life insurance policy on the donor. USA would be both owner and beneficiary of the policy. The donor would receive a pledge reminder each year, and USA would then use the donor’s gift to pay the annual premium. Donors could designate the face value of the policy for a named endowment for whatever college, department or area at USA they wish. While the pledge for any policy could extend 10 years, the matching funds would only be available for the first five years.

Two alumni have already participated in the program. David Tressler, a 1978 business graduate and certified financial planner, leads Tressler Financial Group/AXA Advisors, LLC. He has made a gift pledge to provide funds for a $100,000 life insurance policy and will name a room in the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

“I stepped up to make a gift to my alma mater, USA, to be a significant part of the overall impact USA is making in the Southeast,” Tressler said. “Particularly in the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, we have the most advanced treatment and research facility for this disease in the region. I am also proud of the superior foundation I received in my finance degree from USA in 1978. This has allowed me to advance in my career as a Certified Financial Planner and advance my practice model throughout south Alabama. As the years roll on, I plan to remain very active in advancing the University of South Alabama Legacy.”

Vera Reed, a 1996 business alumna, is a certified public accountant, a certified financial examiner and a partner at Horne LLP. She has made a gift pledge to provide for a $225,000 insurance policy and will create an endowed scholarship for either a junior or senior accounting major at the Mitchell College of Business.

“I want to give something back to the University and the accounting profession by providing scholarship funds to the next generation of accountants,” Reed said. “It was a financial challenge for me to obtain a degree and I hope this endowment will ease the financial strain of the students it benefits. I enjoyed attending USA and appreciate the opportunities afforded me by the quality education I received.”

USA’s Development Director of Leadership Gifts and Planned Giving Ben Samel said of the new matching program, “Life Insurance is a great way to leave a substantial amount of money with a relatively small amount of donation each year. Life insurance can build future endowments for the University of South Alabama, and the matching funds can help donors build the endowments of their choice.”

Campaign USA will enrich all aspects of USA, from its academic colleges and schools to its hospitals, athletic programs, libraries and campuses. The money raised will be used to fund such items as undergraduate and graduate scholarships, professorships, classroom and laboratory equipment, and health care innovations. Funds will also be used for capital enhancements to USA’s athletic facilities and a campus bell tower.

For information on the life insurance program, contact Ben Samel at (251) 460-7032 or

The University of South Alabama

Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 14,000 students in a wide range of academic programs in Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Mitchell College of Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The University has awarded 62,000 degrees.

In addition to teaching and research, USA is one of the largest health care providers in the Mobile region, with its faculty physicians and two hospitals – USA Children’s & Women’s and USA Medical Center – involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually.

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