While the dividends may not be tangible, an investment in education grows exponentially as increasing numbers of graduates affect the lives of others around them.
Steve and Linda Scott of Flora, Miss., are among the most recent University of Mississippi alumni to invest in the future by naming the university as a beneficiary in their wills.
The Scotts committed a planned gift of a significant portion of their estate which will establish the Stephen H. and Linda B. Scott School of Engineering Scholarship. The fund is designated for students entering their junior year and carries over for seniors who have maintained a 3.0 grade-point average or higher.
"From my work experience, I realized that not every student is going to be valedictorian of their class. Not every student will have scholarship offers to go to school, but that does not mean he or she will not make a good, competent engineer," Steve said. "It is important to my wife and me that deserving students have the financial opportunity to complete their college degrees. To succeed in life, you have to persevere, stay motivated, and continue learning. Some people who may not excel at the highest levels of academia may possess those qualities, thus they should not be denied the opportunity for a higher education."
The Scotts chose to donate to the School of Engineering because of Steve's own experience in the program.
"I received a very good education from Ole Miss that prepared me particularly for the work I do," said Steve, who is a research hydraulic engineer for the Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss. "My degree from Ole Miss provided me with the academic base to complete a doctorate in hydraulic engineering. It has also provided me with many other opportunities and the realization of how important it is to recruit students into the engineering sciences. We hope this scholarship will provide anyone who wants to get into the field the opportunity to have a sound, productive career."
With their planned gift, Dr. and Mrs. Scott become members of the 1848 Society, which was established in 1998, the university's 150th year. The society recognizes alumni and friends of the university who have either funded or planned a deferred gift, such as a bequest or life income plan.
Since its founding in 1848, the University of Mississippi has benefited from the foresight and generosity of people like the Scotts, who have chosen to invest in the future. Each year, planned gifts have added to the value of the university's endowment and provided funds for professorships, research, facilities, library books, scholarships, lectureships and many other specific programs to enhance academic and athletic excellence. Those who have made commitments to the university through planned gifts have left significant legacies.
The Scotts also have supported the Woods Order with a monthly donation since 1999. The Woods Order is an annual giving fund designed to provide equipment and other needs for the School of Engineering.
Alex Cheng, dean of engineering, recently visited with the Scotts in Jackson to express appreciation for their generosity.
"We are deeply grateful to Steve and Linda Scott for their longtime contributions and this latest planned gift, which is such a meaningful investment in future engineering students," said the dean. "This assistance will greatly enhance educational opportunities for students selected for the Scott Scholarships. This level of support is incredible; it will impact individual lives and strengthen the school as a whole through our increased ability to help deserving students."
A native of Oxford, Miss., Steve Scott grew up attending Ole Miss football games, selling sodas in the stadium, getting to know Rebel athletes, and swimming in the campus pool. He always knew he wanted to attend Ole Miss. He said the quality of his classes and having the opportunity to work one-on-one with his professors, stand out in his memories. Steve met his wife, Linda, a native of Tupelo, Miss., through a mutual friend while Linda was attending Ole Miss. Linda has recently retired after 30 years in the banking and mortgage industry.
Alumni and friends who would like to include Ole Miss in their estate planning can work with UM Foundation staff members to ensure their interests and intentions are clearly understood and can be followed accurately. To learn more, contact Sandra M. Guest, vice president of the foundation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-5944. For more information on supporting the School of Engineering, contact Kevin Gardner, development officer, at email@example.com of 662-915-7601.