Changing Lives, Leaving a Legacy

By Joanne Shaw

Legacy Society Members Audrey and Lester Hauth.

Legacy Society Members, CSULB alumna Audrey (1967, B.A., English literature) and Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication Luster Hauth. Photo by Victoria Sanchez.

About 2,000 years ago, the Greek statesman and orator Pericles said, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

His words continue to be relevant, especially when considering the numerous legacies that California State University, Long Beach emeriti leave on campus. For many emeriti, involvement with the university’s Legacy Society holds the promise of positively influencing the futures of countless students and community residents.

Legacy Society Members Jean Houck and Robert Ellis

Legacy Society Members, Dean Emerita Jean Houck, College of Education, and Robert Ellis (1958, M.A., secondary education), 2011 Distinguished Alumnus.

Just as these teacher-scholars and staff members, during their employment at CSULB, helped generations of students succeed, emeriti are now assuring the success of future generations of students through their commitments to the Legacy Society. Currently, emeriti make up 13 percent of the organization’s membership.

The process of leaving a legacy is not simply handing down something from one period of time to another period of time, nor is it as straightforward as one ancestor passing something along to a member of a younger generation. It includes passing knowledge as well as assuring opportunities. Ultimately, the process of leaving a legacy at CSULB is determined by the needs and lives of others, most especially, students.

The Legacy Society has set three priorities: student success; faculty-student collaboration; and campus enhancements, such as technology. All of these priorities are essential to the quality educational experiences that prepare students for a complex, challenging work force.

Endowing scholarships, donating research funds for collaborative projects involving faculty and students, funding curriculum development, and supporting capital improvements that enable 21st century technology in every corner of the campus are among the ways emeriti in the Legacy Society weave life-changing opportunities for students.

Currently, the Legacy Society’s membership includes 197 individuals and 140 households, and it has approximately $9.7 million in deferred gifts. The impact of the members’ contributions is beyond measure. Without the society’s generosity, without the legacies forged by emeriti, scores of students may never have finished their degrees. Their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and spouses may not have had those proud moments when the family’s first college graduate crossed the commencement stage.

For still others, the enhanced curriculum that truly would have prepared them for the global work force may never have materialized. And that job, the one that was going to be the ideal fit and the opportunity of a lifetime, may have remained out of a student’s reach without a CSULB degree.

Emeriti who make planned gifts are eligible for membership in CSULB’s Legacy Society. Information about the society and numerous planned giving options may be obtained at: www.csulb.edu/plannedgiving. Or, emeriti are invited to contact Susan Berkman, assistant vice president, University Relations & Development, at 562-985-5122.