Twenty-five years ago, Baylor University established a special way to recognize and celebrate the generosity of alumni and friends who have chosen to support Baylor through a planned gift. And thus the Old Main Society came into existence with a name reflecting the University's rich history and a simple yet important purpose to express gratitude to those who have affirmed their commitment to Baylor's future through a planned gift.
"It has been a great pleasure recognizing these members of the Baylor family into this special society over the years," said Larry Smith, assistant vice president for gift planning. "We are excited about this milestone anniversary for the Old Main Society and are deeply grateful for the purposeful planning of its membership."
DONORS ON CAMPUS
Old Main Society members are recognized annually at The Chairman's Dinner hosted by Baylor each spring. These individuals or couples have made a provision for Baylor through a will, trust or another type of planned gift.
Smith noted that the Society's membership features many Baylor employees and retirees, including many who are not Baylor alumni. "Since the Old Main Society was established in 1991, many faculty, staff and retirees have joined hundreds of Baylor alumni and friends in making a provision for the University in their estate plans," he said.
One such couple is Dr. Mark and Linda Taylor, who recently made a bequest commitment to ultimately benefit two endowed scholarship funds: the Mark F. and Linda Roco Taylor Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Taylor-Roco Endowed Scholarship Fund named in honor of their parents, Herbert and Marie Taylor and Harvey and Marilyn Roco.
"Throughout our years at Baylor, we have made several gifts whose impact was short-term," said Mark, an associate professor of biology who began teaching at Baylor in 1985. "When it came time to draw up our wills, we were looking for a meaningful way to bequeath our estate. A number of years ago, we thought that someday it would be nice to honor our parents by naming a scholarship after them. Our planned gift will have a longer-lasting impact than any one-time gift we could make."
A SECOND HOME
Both of the Taylors are graduates of other colleges, but they have made Baylor their adopted alma mater and their home. In fact, Mark and Linda were recently recognized by the University as Alumni By Choice.
"Baylor is family to us," Mark said. "I love the Baylor environment and the great educational opportunities it offers. On a daily basis, I can see that the family atmosphere and the Christian environment help nurture students' spiritual and social development. I grew up in a small East Texas town, where many could not afford a four-year college education. I wanted to provide an opportunity for deserving students from my hometown to reach their educational dreams. We believe there is no better place for those dreams to be fulfilled than Baylor University."
Smith said donors like the Taylors are visionary in that they are planting seeds for trees under which they will never sit. "Their planned gifts will provide scholarships, professorships and chairs and support many other programs," he said.