A Full Circle Legacy in the Making
Barbara Robertson (79C) knows firsthand the value of Berry's work program and cherishes the opportunities she had to foster career skills while a student. In fact, it was an interview skills workshop offered through her leadership position in the Student Government Association that helped her land her first job out of college.
"When I began my job search, there was no LinkedIn, no Internet," Robertson said. "You had to look at the paper or meet the people who visited campus to help us on our journey. And that's exactly who I interviewed with. That's something Berry is really great at — connecting students with incredible mentors."
Robertson's career in human resources took her across the country as she provided consulting, employee relations, and benefits and compensation expertise for Fortune 500 companies, recently retiring from IBM. She now enjoys frequent visits to campus, often working with SGA officers and students involved in Berry's Student Enterprises. Earlier this year in fact, she came to campus to discuss interview skills with a group of senior campus leaders — truly coming back full circle to her own Berry experience.
Robertson has been a faithful supporter of Berry for years. Even before she graduated, she knew that she would give back to the school that had given her so much.
"I met alumni who visited campus and it clicked with me at some point," she said. "I realized that giving back is just what grateful people do — you give back when you can, however you can."
Robertson is now a member of the Berry Heritage Society which honors those who have cared so strongly for Berry students that they have established a legacy of support by including Berry in their estate planning. She has not waited to begin giving with purpose, however. To date, she has fully funded two work endowments, the SGA secretary and SGA vice president of service, both positions she held as a student. Ultimately, she plans to fund four work endowments.
"I found something to support at Berry that was a perfect fit for me, so I encourage others to do the same," said Robertson. "I'm particularly fond of funding work scholarships because it is a way to give other students the same great experiences we received while we were at Berry. Fund the job you held on campus because endowed work scholarships provide the salaries for those positions and free up funds that the school can utilize elsewhere."
Finding a way to give back to Berry while also staying true to her passions and interests has made giving even more meaningful than Robertson imagined.
"The need for scholarships will never go away, and the more intentional we can be about their funding, the more amazing our students will be," she said. "The Berry Advancement Office really does make it easy. They work with you to design a plan that makes it easy for you to implement. I was beyond excited to be able to support something so close to my heart."
Establishing a bequest at Berry College is easy — just adding a few sentences to your will is sufficient. Helen Lansing, Berry's senior planned giving officer, can help guide you through the process. Including Berry in your estate plan has no effect on your current financial position and can have the added benefit of reducing estate taxes for your loved ones