Spring 2018

Planning Ahead

Discovering a way to support an alma mater and finance a retirement.

By Helene Ragovin

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Peter Regas, A73, DA75, and his wife, Karen, an environmental engineer. Photo: Alonso Nichols

For a good part of the 1970s, students at Tufts School of Dental Medicine completed their degrees in three, not four, years. The accelerated academic calendar was designed to address an anticipated shortage of dentists, but it also meant students galloped through a 132-week curriculum.

“It was a little bit of a pressure cooker,” recalled Peter Regas, A73, DA75, a member of the first class to complete the three-year program. “But we kind of took care of the pressure. It was an interesting three years; it went by fast, and our class was pretty exceptional.” Along with memories of long hours in the clinic and learning periodontics from the curriculum designed by pioneering specialist Irving Glickman, Regas also remembers grabbing time to play nine holes of golf, weekend ski trips, and his three roommates.

“I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had a good time,” he said. Tufts prepared him well, he is sure, for his first job as an associate. In 1977 he opened his own general dentistry practice in the small town of Lakeville, Massachusetts. In the ensuing years, he went from being a newcomer to establishing himself as a successful member of the community. As he approached the 40th anniversary of his practice, he and his wife, Karen, began to plan for their retirement.

“We really should have been thinking about this all along,” said Karen Regas, an environmental engineer. The couple was aware that they could include Tufts in their estate plans. But they were pleasantly surprised to find that there was a way they could support the School of Dental Medicine and finance their retirement. Their financial planner suggested they consider a flexible deferred gift annuity to achieve these goals and save on capital gains taxes, too.

“Our planner told us, if you’re going to do anything for Tufts when you pass away, do it upfront, and everybody benefits,” Karen Regas said.

A flexible deferred-gift annuity allows donors to choose when they want to receive income from their gift. If they choose to defer their payments to a later date, they will receive a higher annuity rate.

“It fit our situation correctly, and I’m glad to be able to do something for the school,” Peter Regas said. He was familiar with creative ways to support Tufts because he had helped launch three nonprofits: a charitable and educational foundation for the Middleboro Rotary Club, the Lakeville Community Foundation, and the Taunton Airport Association.

The Regas’ gift is unrestricted, so the School of Dental Medicine can use it to support emerging priorities or areas where the need is greatest. “I didn’t want to limit it in any way,” Peter Regas said. “I was just glad to help the school.”

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