Drs. Thomas and Elizabeth Vician
Drs. Thomas and Elizabeth Vician

Educators' Legacy to Inspire Generations of De Anza Students

Inspired by the generosity they once experienced as students, Drs. Thomas and Elizabeth Vician recently established an endowment to benefit De Anza College students planning to transfer to a four-year university to study humanities, social sciences or STEM.   

The Vicians established the endowment by transferring money directly from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to the Foothill-De Anza Foundation. Besides these transfers, known as qualified charitable distributions or IRA charitable rollovers, the couple plans to make additional lifetime gifts and gifts from their estate so that the endowment reaches $1 million, which will support student scholarships of up to $10,000 each in perpetuity! 

As graduate students, the Vicians each received grants that played a critical role in their ability to complete their studies, and the couple hopes that the newly established scholarship endowment will provide similar financial encouragement to transferring De Anza students.  

The Vicians share a deep belief in and connection to community colleges and have each spent their careers dedicated to educating community college students. Tom taught philosophy at De Anza for nearly fifty years, while Liz taught psychology and served as a guidance counselor for thirty years at Chabot College in Hayward. After witnessing their students’ grit and determination, Tom and Liz vowed to help remove financial obstacles that might prevent De Anza students from pursuing a bachelor’s degree and perhaps inspire the next generation to support our students when they are able! 

The couple’s endowment is also intended to honor the nurturing, personal and progressive leadership of Martha J. Kanter, who served as De Anza College president and Foothill-De Anza Community College chancellor before being appointed as U.S. under secretary of education by former President Barack Obama, and Judy C. Miner, who was a vice president at De Anza, Foothill College president, and district chancellor before her retirement from Foothill-De Anza last year.  

Upon learning of Tom and Liz’s exceptional generosity, Dr. Kanter expressed her deep gratitude, reflecting that the gift “will benefit students for years to come, especially those who may not have thought their education beyond high school was possible.” Dr. Miner stated that she has been a friend and colleague of Tom’s for more than 30 years, and “[h]is service to De Anza … helped thousands of students to receive an outstanding education in philosophy and impactful support in the journey to the next stages of their lives. It is unsurprising that Tom and Liz continue to contribute to the success of De Anza students.”   

Scholarship endowments start at $25,000 and can be funded over a five-year period. Those 70 ½ years of age or older can establish an endowment just like the Vicians did by transferring funds from an IRA directly to the Foothill-De Anza Foundation. This type of gift, known as a qualified charitable distribution or QCD, which is directly transferred to the Foundation by the IRA administrator, is not subject to federal income tax and may also count toward your required minimum distribution (RMD). However, because the gift is not included in your taxable income, you also cannot claim an income tax charitable deduction.