Kenneth E. Mitchem

Dr. Randy Mitchem, COM '87, remembering his father, Dr. Kenneth Mitchem, COM '55, at the Heritage Society Recognition Breakfast during Homecoming.

Kenneth E. Mitchem, DO (COM '55), father of Steven, Gregory and Randy, had a passion for life that ignited an insatiable curiosity and a keen sense of gratitude. Dr. Mitchem once confided in his youngest son, Randy, "I wish I could be 10 people—there are so many great jobs in this world."

Occupations such as carpenter, musician, farmer, over-the-road truck driver and others fascinated him. But Dr. Mitchem's first professional love was always medicine.

Perhaps the most profound story of Dr. Mitchem's life is how he became a member of the Class of 1955 at Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCCOM, n/k/a Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences) and committed his life to caring for people for the next 50 years.

"My father and mother, Jeanne, moved from Jefferson City to Kansas City where he pieced together an education between Jefferson City Junior College, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Rockhurst University," Randy Mitchem, DO (COM '87), FCCP says. "But he never finished his degree and, after completing prerequisites for medical school, went to the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine and requested admission during a personal visit with the dean."

Kenneth J. Davis, DO, who served as dean of KCCOM from 1954-55, encouraged the earnest young student to finish his undergraduate degree and apply to medical school the following year. Unsatisfied, Mitchem returned to the college three more times, each time making his case for entrance-and each time being rejected.

"A Kansas City physician became aware of my father's predicament and suggested he see Dean Davis one last time, which he did," Dr. Randy Mitchem says. "As the story goes, Dr. Davis shook his head when my father appeared on his doorstep a fourth time and simply said, 'You're in.'"

He attributes that momentous decision to his father's dedication to medicine, and to how he forged a bond of eternal gratitude to the University.

Dr. Mitchem passed away on July 26, 2016, in Vancouver, Washington, at the age of 86, surrounded by his beloved family, including Randy who followed in the footsteps of a father he deeply admired.

"He was many things in life, but probably not a sound bite," says Dr. Randy Mitchem. "He had immense character and was a healer and a leader-although he didn't necessarily intend to be the latter."

Dr. Kenneth Mitchem's final note of gratitude for the opportunity that KCU afforded him came in the form of a $325,000 bequest to the University designated for the Centennial Campaign Leading the Way.

"My family and I are humbled that this will help the next generation of medical students move forward in the halls of our great school to become leaders in their fields," Dr. Randy Mitchem says.

Although none of us know how long our lives may be, it is an achievement to leave a legacy of living in a way that honors our creation—like Dr. Kenneth Mitchem.

Help strengthen KCU for generations to come by making a gift for our future, like Dr. Kenneth Mitchen did. Contact the KCU Office of Institutional Advancement at 816-654-7280 or to get started.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to KCU a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to KCU, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 1750 Independence Ave., Kansas City, MO 64106, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to KCU or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to KCU as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to KCU as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and KCU where you agree to make a gift to KCU and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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