A Life-Changing Class Helps Alumna Discover Her Passion
Carrie Liu Currier '96 always wanted to attend the University of Michigan. Growing up in Iowa, she cheered for the Wolverines alongside her father, a huge Michigan football fan who watched every game on television. The day Carrie got into Michigan was the best day of her life.
As a first-generation college student, she didn't really know what to expect at the university. In true LSA fashion, she enrolled in a sampling of seemingly random classes her first semester, including, on a whim, an 8 a.m. international politics course taught by Ted Hopf.
"I was interested in politics, but not really that interested in politics. It just sounded like an interesting class and it was open," Carrie says.
That class turned out to be one of the most important choices she would make at Michigan, leading to her decision to major in political science. Carrie followed up with classes in Chinese politics with Professor Emeritus Ken Lieberthal, whose brilliant teaching and brown bag lunch discussions helped to illuminate her life's work.
"That first class in international politics just changed my outlook. It was a little bit scary. It was completely challenging. It was everything that I had been afraid college would be like—and also everything that I hoped it would be like," Carrie reflects. "It really opened me up intellectually and was a very transformative experience."
She went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science, Comparative Politics and International Relations from the University of Arizona and is now the Chair of the Political Science Department and a professor of Chinese politics at Texas Christian University.
But her bond with the University of Michigan, where her passion for international politics was sparked, remains strong. Recently, Carrie named a $500,000 bequest to endow The Dr. Carrie Liu Currier Student Scholarship Fund at LSA for undergraduate students in political science or Asian studies. She was inspired to make a planned gift now, in part, by a friend who had recently made a gift to her own Big Ten alma mater. Witnessing the deep fulfilment her friend experienced motivated her to investigate giving to Michigan.
Carrie saw a planned gift as an opportunity to underscore her connection to the University of Michigan in a lasting and meaningful way. She noted that a lot of people leave gifts to institutions in their wills, but many don't directly specify their wishes for funding. She wanted to shape a legacy that would be beneficial to students in the future, while representing her life and interests now.
Carrie feels there's a lot of value in studying Asia more deeply, not only because of the current political climate but also to develop a deeper understanding of what many still see as the exotic or different. She cites Michigan's strength as a top institution for both political science and Asian studies and, in particular, the combination of the two.
And, with this kind of early foresight, Carrie was able to craft a gift that encapsulates her career, her experiences at Michigan and her personal identity—and to ensure that, for years to come, students with similar interests will be able to attend and thrive at the University of Michigan.
"My bequest both reflects who I am in terms of identity politics—I'm half Chinese—as well as where my areas of interest are in terms of work," she notes. "Most of my classes at Michigan were in the areas of political science and Asian studies, so it also reflects my time at the institution."
Currier hopes her gift will serve as a catalyst for other younger donors who are beginning to think about their estate plans. "More people should be thinking about trying to donate, especially when you're young like this. It's good to plan ahead," she states.
Say 'Yes!' to a Bequest
Each year, many alumni and friends reveal that they have included the University of Michigan's College of LSA in their estate plans. Some provide details about their intentions, in effect documenting their generous future gifts to the college.
When you share your intentions with Michigan, you help ensure that your gift will have the impact you intend. It also allows us to keep you apprised of new programs or developments that may impact your gift. Bequests and other estate gifts are a crucial source of continuing support for the college.
You can help future Wolverines step through doors of opportunity by naming the University of Michigan in your will or living trust. These kinds of estate gifts are simple and straightforward, giving you the chance to make a lasting impact at U-M, while also providing flexibility to adjust your plans as needed.
- Your assets remain in your control during your lifetime.
- You can modify your gift to address changing circumstances.
- You can direct your gift to a particular purpose.
Contact the Office of Planned Giving at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 615-2022 to learn more about making a gift to U-M in your will, or to explore other ways to give.