Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Tom and Mary Southards
In the late 1970s, Tom and Mary Southards were first-generation college students, struggling to go to school while working to help pay for their educations at the same time. Today, both work at Kent State: Tom as outreach program manager in the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology on the Kent Campus, and Mary as assistant dean for enrollment management at Kent State University at Stark.
The work they do enables them to interact with students in many ways, which brings them great joy. "What I enjoy most about my job is being involved with students as they make their way to the successful completion of their college education," says Mary. "Knowing that I made a small difference by resolving a problem, reaching out to a faculty member on a student's behalf, finding some additional financial assistance or smoothing the path in some way makes what I do worthwhile."
Tom and Mary feel very strongly about providing financial support to college students, and have made a bequest for an endowed scholarship that will benefit first generation students at the Stark Campus.
Tom says, "We believe in the mission of Kent State Stark and recognize the importance of supporting students who choose to enroll at their hometown university campus. The scholarship will require students to be enrolled full time, working part time and maintaining a 3.5 grade point average. We expect students who receive our scholarship to be contributing, as we did, to paying for their education and to demonstrate excellence in academic achievement."
"Our parents recognized the importance of education and made significant sacrifices to enable Tom and me to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees," adds Mary. "This gift is truly in recognition of them. We want to help give a young person the opportunity to pursue a college degree that will better enable them to enjoy life and have a meaningful, lifelong career."
Tom and Mary Southards benefited throughout their college careers from the generosity of others who understood the importance of supporting higher education. Now they feel it's their turn to make that contribution to a future Kent State student.
You, too, can make a difference in the life of a Kent State student with a provision in your estate plan. Visit kentstatelegacy.org or call 330-672-1000 to learn how your deferred gift can help future students.