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A Simple Commitment to Provide for the Next Generation

Stacy Kern-Scheerer'00 and Jonathan Scheerer'01 know that drawing up a will does not have to be a hard or complicated process, and that you don't have to be older or have a lot of assets to make it worth your time.

Jonathan and Stacy met at Beloit when they were 19 years old. Married since 2006 and now settling into careers, they started their family last September with the birth of August Kern-Scheerer. Now they've taken their next big step – they've set up a trust to provide for their son and to make a major gift to Beloit College.

Stacy, who currently serves as president of the Beloit College Alumni Board of Directors, explains their attachment to the college: "Beloit's really important to us on a personal level. It brought us together, and it's a real common thread in our relationship."

Jonathan adds, "We certainly value Beloit, and we think that the character of Beloit is important and worth keeping strong."

In 2011, the couple made a promise to each other to get their first will written by 2012 and to include a gift for Beloit. But it wasn't until after their baby's birth that they got the ball rolling. "We were really motivated to call a lawyer that specializes in family and estate law after August was born, in order to clearly provide for him (not just financially, but also regarding guardianship) should something happen to us," Stacy says.

The Kern-Scheerer family lives in Williamsburg, Va., where Jonathan is an assistant professor of chemistry at The College of William & Mary. He earned his doctorate from Harvard University in 2006 and was a postdoctorate research fellow at Johns Hopkins University from 2006 to 2009.

Stacy earned a juris doctorate from Boston University School of Law and a master's degree in public health from the BU School of Public Health. She has worked for the U.S. Senate Office of the Legislative Counsel, where she writes legislation for senators, since 2004. She is able to do much of her work from home, traveling as needed to Washington, D.C., for meetings.

In his job search for a chemistry faculty position, Jonathan interviewed at many types of institutions. "After that whole process," he says, "I realized what a rarity Beloit truly is, and I think it's an important thing to preserve."

Their wide circle of friends outside Beloit College and their personal familiarity with other institutions add to their appreciation of their alma mater. "Jonathan and I are so much more passionate about how we feel about our college years than anybody we know," Stacy says. "We knew Beloit was special, but now we know just how special."

For alumni who care about Beloit but haven't yet made plans for an estate gift, the Kern-Scheerers would like to share this from the process they have just completed: "Because we are young and have decidedly uncomplicated finances, the process of drawing up our will has been very simple and fast," Stacy says.