From the sequencing of the human genome to revolutionary imaging technologies, the past two decades have seen remarkable advances in neuroscience. For Marie, ’78, and Alex Shipman, these advances were at the top of their minds as they began thinking about creating their legacy through a planned gift to Stanford.
“Neurological research is making dramatic improvements in human health and quality of life as we live longer—neuroscientists can do things with today’s technology that just weren’t possible before,” says Marie. “We realized that making an estate gift for research could support future breakthroughs that are hard to even imagine right now.”
The Shipmans are longtime champions of Stanford—Marie graduated with a degree in economics, and both she and Alex are Cardinal fans who rarely miss a home football game and often cheer for other student-athletes both on the Farm and on the road. They also have been closely following and supporting the work coming out of Stanford’s multidisciplinary sports medicine and neuroscience research programs, including endowing a director of sport performance and applied sports science.
After a great deal of thought and due diligence, they took steps to provide for a future gift to the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute by including Stanford as the primary beneficiary of their estate plan. Their gift will fund research in brain development, human performance, and mental health, and support future generations of faculty and students at Stanford.
The more I read about neuroscience, the more I realized that as people live longer, the more concerned we need to be about brain health. That’s why I think this kind of research is so important.” —Marie Shipman, ’78
Planning their legacy
The Shipmans say they took a methodical, research-driven approach to their estate planning.
“We went to a lawyer who focuses on major gifts to charitable organizations and talked about the kind of legacy we wanted to establish, and who we wanted to include in that legacy. We did our homework and talked with several top research universities regarding our objectives,” says Alex, who was a real estate attorney and CFO before retiring.
They were particularly excited by what Marie calls the “cross-pollination happening at Stanford.”
“These days, it feels like everything in academia is siloed. I like Stanford’s collaborative approach to research,” says Marie, who is a commercial real estate developer and investor. “We’re comfortable making Stanford a part of our estate plan because the people at the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute are doing interdisciplinary work that we believe will achieve the greatest results.”
When we started thinking about estate planning, we went to a lawyer who focuses on major gifts to charitable organizations and talked about the kind of legacy we wanted to establish, and who we wanted to include in that legacy. We did our homework” —Alex Shipman
Bringing their vision to life
The majority of the Shipman’s estate gift to Stanford will support senior and junior faculty at the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute as well as the institute as a whole, with the funded purposes named in honor of the Shipmans.
“The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute was a good fit because its interdisciplinary research merges with our interest in sports medicine,” says Marie. “It will be fascinating to see where it leads.” Supporting neurological research has always been part of Marie’s philanthropy. “The first time I donated to Stanford, many years ago, I specifically sought out a neurosciences fund because I wanted to support research that might help my cousin, who has cerebral palsy,” says Marie. “That’s what got me started. The more I read about neuroscience, the more I realized that as people live longer, the more concerned we need to be about brain and nervous system health. That’s why I think this kind of research is so important.”
“Making people healthier is something we wanted to leave as our legacy,” she adds. “We are so pleased that our investment in Stanford provides us with the opportunity to do so.”