A Gift of Gratitude

A Gift of Gratitude

By the time Barbara Bentley (78C, 82G) enrolled at Berry College, the naval aviator's wife and mother of two young children had attended many different colleges, accruing credits wherever her husband, Bob, was stationed. While Bob was away serving in Vietnam, Barbara completed the final requirements for an associate of arts degree and recognized a disappointing truth: the difficulties of fitting college classes around her husband's career made attaining a higher degree impossible.

When Bob retired from the U.S. Navy after 22 years of service, the couple built their dream home in Taylorsville, Ga. Soon, they realized the additional expenses of civilian life made it necessary for Barbara to get a job, but without a four-year degree, finding work that paid well proved more difficult than either of them expected. That's when Bob suggested Barbara might consider finishing her college degree.

After checking into Agnes Scott College, Georgia State and Shorter University, Barbara chose Berry College. The added expenses of college were greatly reduced with the generous scholarships Berry offered Barbara. She spent the next year and a half balancing the demands of family life with her pursuit of bachelor's degrees in both early childhood education and psychology.

Barbara remembers those long, hectic days with fondness and gratitude for faculty such as Dr. Robert Catanzano, professor of mathematics education emeritus, who brought math to life and gave her confidence in herself; Dr. Jerry Jennings, professor of psychology emeritus, who inspired Barbara to take every course he offered; and the late Dr. Rose Nell Horn, a reading teacher who introduced Barbara to phonics and taught her how to teach others.

After graduating summa cum laude in 1978, Barbara began teaching elementary school students while continuing her education at Berry, gaining a master's degree in 1982 and then University of West Georgia where she earned an education specialist degree in counseling in 1988. She spent the remainder of her career counseling high school students.

"Berry made all the difference in the world to me and my family," Barbara recalled. "I was so thankful for the scholarships I desperately needed. I couldn't have done it without those scholarships." Now, she is doing the same for others by endowing a scholarship at Berry through her will.

Giving to Berry through a will, as Barbara has done, is one of the simplest types of planned gifts you can make and it's one of the easiest to implement. Giving through your will allows you to make future provisions for Berry students while maintaining the financial flexibility to meet current obligations.

"We're not wealthy people, but we do have the ability to help someone else," Barbara said. "I think that's what we should do to show our thankfulness for the Berry scholarship gifts given to me at a time when we needed the help."

For more information about how you can use your will to help Berry students, please contact Berry's senior planned giving officer Helen Lansing (20G) at hlansing@berry.edu. She can answer your questions and put you in touch with experts on Berry's Planned Giving Council.


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