Planning for a lasting legacy

Gary Armstrong ’66 B.S., ’68 M.B.A. and Kathy Armstrong ’68 B.S. have long demonstrated their commitment to making a Wayne State University education more accessible to qualified students, regardless of financial means. In 2012, they established the Gary and Kathy Armstrong Endowed Scholarship. And in 2014, they issued the Armstrong Challenge, by which they matched others’ gifts to the School of Business with an additional $175,000 gift to benefit their own endowed scholarship. Now, to further bolster the scholarship, the couple has contributed an additional $500,000 planned gift.

"Kathy and I feel fortunate that we had a world-class university like Wayne State so accessible and so affordable," Gary Armstrong said. "We want to make those same opportunities available to future students, and we want to encourage others to do the same."

Both Detroit natives, the Armstrongs now live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Gary is Blackwell Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Kathy, who majored in biological sciences at Wayne State, is a retired K-12 school teacher.

Kathy points out that neither her career nor Gary’s may have been possible without access to a top-notch college education. "If not for Wayne State, it’s likely that neither of us would have been able to afford college," she said. "Education opened up so many opportunities for us."

This realization inspired the Armstrongs to support students at Wayne State. Their scholarship has already helped 18 students fund their educations in the business school, including alumnus Julian Sandoval ’13 B.A. who says he would not have been able to attend college without the scholarship.

"I feel so honored to have people I don’t even know help to finance my education," he explained. "I will never forget the Armstrongs’ wonderful gesture of generosity and kindness. I will do all I can to be successful and worthy of their investment in me."

The Armstrongs decided to contribute a planned gift to their existing scholarship because it will ensure that even more students like Julian have access to higher education. It also will ensure that the scholarship continues supporting this mission in perpetuity.

What is planned giving?

Planned giving allows donors to contribute to the future success of Wayne State through gifts in their estate plans. These gifts ensure that the university can educate students for generations by providing more scholarships and access to expert faculty and programs. There are many ways to make a planned gift to Wayne State, and often planned giving allows donors to make a larger gift than they thought possible. If you would like to learn more about the impact a planned gift can have on Wayne State University, please contact Rob MacGregor, senior director of planned gifts, at 313-577-8346 or

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