Tax credit serves as extra motivation for Kelly and Jon Callen

Jon and Kelly Callen

Jon ’83 and Kelly Callen have made a gift to the Rhatigan Renewal project. The donation benefits the university and also the Callens who will qualify for tax credits through the Higher Education Deferred Maintenance Tax Credit Program.

Kelly Callen says she remembers spending an abundance of her childhood at the Rhatigan Student Center, formerly known as the Campus Activities Center, with her mother, Kathlien Edmiston ’33.

Kelly and her husband, Jon ’83, who have been longtime supporters of Wichita State, are among those who will receive a 50 percent tax credit for their gift to the renovation of the Rhatigan Student Center through the Higher Education Deferred Maintenance Tax Credit Program.

“It just made sense to name a room in memory of my mother,” said Callen. “Not only did we get to honor her, but we also were able to help the university with monies we would normally be giving to the state.”

Currently, the $33 million renovation is being funded by increased student fees and private donations. The WSU Foundation has a goal to raise 10 percent of the costs of the project and James Rhatigan, consultant to the WSU Foundation, is taking the lead to meet that goal with the help of those like Callen.

“As far as we’re concerned, this is a win-win situation,” said Callen. “The university gets funds to do much-needed work and we get a tax credit.”

With this gift, Callen can claim charitable deductions during this taxable year on state and federal returns, along with tax credits on the bottomline tax bill due on State of Kansas income tax.

This tax credit, which is available to individuals, nonprofit organizations and businesses paying Kansas individual or corporate income tax, is effective for tax years 2011 and 2012. A minimum gift of $5,000 per year is required of each donor.

Callen said she and her husband spoke with an accountant before giving their gift.

“We talked with him to determine if the tax credit program was right for us. He encouraged us to take advantage of the program.”

Although her most recent contribution has been to the Rhatigan Renewal, Callen also has received tax credits in the past for her gifts to the university.

“Three years ago, I was told of the program for deferred maintenance for several buildings on campus. Since my husband and I are extremely interested in the arts, we were especially interested in helping with the work on Duerksen Fine Arts Center.”

After seeing the benefits of the deferred maintenance gift, Callen said that when the opportunity arose to donate to the Rhatigan Renewal, she knew it was something in which she wanted to be a part.

“What these gifts have done for us is lessen the amount of taxes we need to pay. When we heard the Rhatigan Student Center was going to be included in the list of possible buildings needing renovation, it gave us the incentive to help.”

If you’re interested in donating to the Rhatigan Renewal, contact Rhatigan at (316) 978-3846 or If you have questions about the Deferred Maintenance Tax Credit Program, contact Patsy Selby, WSU Foundation vice president for finance and administrative services, at (316) 978-3810 or

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Wichita State University Foundation

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Wichita State University Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.