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The 1888 Society inspires at NMSU

August 11, 2018

At New Mexico State University, what do the college-based Nakayama Family Research and Education Professorships, the Sanchez Memorial Study Abroad Scholarship and the Askew Endowed Scholarship in athletics have in common? They have inspired heartfelt testimonials from students and professors that read like a novel of empowered, transformed lives.

The donors to these funds — some NMSU alumni and some community supporters — make an incredible commitment to NMSU by devoting a portion of their estate and legacy to the NMSU Foundation, so that the university’s programs, scholarships and academic colleges will flourish.

A coveted society exists at NMSU, and getting in is solely focused on a member’s passion for NMSU and building financial pathways that ensure a bright future for students of all backgrounds. This is the NMSU Foundation’s 1888 Society. They are the stewards of NMSU’s future who invest in what’s successful at NMSU. Every year, these planned legacy gifts to the NMSU Foundation are often the largest sources of financial support that establish new scholarships, create new programs or enhance initiatives across the five campuses of the NMSU system.

The 1888 Society is made up of a diverse group of supporters. Some are like Bob Rogers, who lives a life so inspired by former New Mexico State basketball and baseball coach Presley Askew that he honored his memory with an athletics scholarship (supported by the charitable IRA rollover) that has supported Aggie student-athletes for years — some of whom now play and compete professionally.

A number are like Joe Nakayama, whose family helped pioneer New Mexico agriculture. With his generous gifts, he ensured that his family’s commitment to the state continued in perpetuity by establishing research professorships at through the NMSU Foundation.

Others find their inspiration from experiences, like Elisa Sanchez, who created a scholarship for students to support them traveling abroad. Her estate plan will continue this scholarship for years to come and is named after her mother, Angelina Sanchez, who acted in the epic movie Salt of the Earth, created to depict her real-life experience protesting in support of worker’s rights at the Empire Zinc mine in the 1950s in Hanover, N.M. After seeing the movie, a Hispanic female student and a recipient of the scholarship spoke of the life-changing value of her NMSU studies in London and her deep appreciation for such an opportunity. She told Elisa, “I never thought something like this would happen to me coming from a very small town in rural New Mexico.”

Many of these supporters, now members of the 1888 Society, experience their investment and joy of giving firsthand with “blended gifts” of current, planned and estate gifts. The 1888 Society works to recognize these leaders and celebrate their commitments of time, talent and philanthropy for NMSU. To be included in the society (one can remain anonymous if desired), each member notifies us and documents that the NMSU Foundation is included in their estate plans as the beneficiary of a will, trust, life income gift, life insurance policy, retirement plan or other planned gifts.

The greatness of our university begins with people. Planned gifts, whatever the amount, provide critical support that enables NMSU to expand the frontiers of knowledge through our land-grant mission of teaching, research and service. Such personal, farsighted giving offers a lasting legacy that transforms the lives of our Aggie family —not just now but for generations to come.

Robert Peterson is the planned giving director of the New Mexico State University Foundation.

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