Bardsley estate benefits veterinary students

The Bardsley legacy will forever be connected to students who are beneficiaries of their scholarship in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Over the course of their lifetimes, Charles and Viola Bardsley used careful planning to ensure their giving inspires student success in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University.

After years of faithful annual support to the college, an estate gift from the Bardsleys will provide scholarships for the most talented students in perpetuity. The CVM scholarship fund the couple initially established in their name will now sustain their financial awards.

The Bardsleys, who were residents of Ocean Springs in their later years, began supporting Mississippi State in 1996 with the creation of an annual scholarship in CVM for academic scholars. The scholarship is awarded to the fourth-year senior who has attained the highest cumulative grade point average during the professional program.

“Our college gratefully appreciates and will uphold the wishes of the Bardsleys to educate promising students and make available scholarships to those with potential who may need financial assistance,” said Kent Hoblet, CVM dean. “The students benefiting from their generosity will address the health and well-being of animals and associated human and environmental health issues through modern veterinary medical science.”

The late Charles Bardsley shared a rich history with Mississippi State University. A native of Newport, Rhode Island, he received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Rhode Island in 1948 and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from MSU in 1950 and 1959, respectively. An accomplished trumpet player, he wrote and arranged music for a number of bands, including MSU’s Famous Maroon Band.

Bardsley had a distinguished career in the development of pesticides and related work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was vice president of the Agritec Co. in Houston, Texas, and was a research manager with Mallinckrodt Chemical Co. in St. Louis, Missouri. He also taught and directed graduate research at Clemson University and was a research associate with American Can Co. in Wisconsin. He held two patents and authored 48 scientific articles and book chapters.

Viola Georgetta Bardsley was a native of Litchfield, Illinois. She earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Illinois and a master’s from the University of Missouri. She taught chemistry at the college level and was a senior chemist and technical associate with Mallinckrodt Chemical Co.
Along with their annual gifts, the Bardsleys established gift annuities that benefited them and the university. Following Charles’ passing in 2003, Viola continued funding the annuities. In all, 24 gift annuities from the couple have benefited Mississippi State.

After Viola’s death in 2015, the remainder from the annuities and a bequest through her will created the Charles E. and Viola G. Bardsley Endowed Scholarship in Veterinary Medicine. The estate nearly doubles the college’s overall endowment, and earnings from the endowment will continue the scholarships the couple held dear.

“Because of the way the Bardsleys’ bequest was structured, CVM has more than $7 million in a new endowment,” said Jimmy Kight, the college’s director of development. “The earnings from the endowment will result in significant yearly support of our students.”

Charitable gift annuities, which are available in most states, provide a donor with lifetime income and do not require a large donation. In exchange for an irrevocable gift of cash, stock, bonds, or in some cases, other assets like real estate or timberland, a donor will receive fixed income payments for life, as well as a charitable income tax deduction in the year of the gift. When the annuity terminates, the remaining assets are used by MSU in accordance with the donor’s designation.

Another popular way to support Mississippi State University is through a bequest. The MSU Foundation encourages alumni and friends to notify its Office of Planned Giving if considering including Mississippi State as part of their estate plans.

For more on including Mississippi State University in estate plans or other deferred gifts such as annuities, contact Jack McCarty, executive director of development for the MSU Foundation, at 662.325.8852 or

By Amy Cagle