Fostering the Bulldog spirit is the continued goal of the Mississippi State University Alumni Association, and with the launch of its newest program, this goal extends to even the youngest of Bulldogs.

The Legacy Program, which began early this year, offers Mississippi State alumni the chance to ignite a love for MSU in their children and grandchildren.

“From an early age, children who are a part of the Legacy Program will learn what makes Mississippi State University special, just as their parents or grandparents did before them,” said Jeff Davis, executive director for the Alumni Association.

The Legacy Program is available to MSU alumni who are active members of the association. The program requires no cost beyond the gift needed to maintain a membership, and there is no limit to how many children and grandchildren the active members are eligible to register. All enrolled children will receive a yearly birthday card and a unique MSU birthday gift for every even birthday.

“It is the spirit of giving and family which connects all Bulldogs that we want to impart through the program,” Davis said. “Strengthening that spirit will only strengthen the university itself, as well as the appreciation our alumni and their families have for MSU.”

The gifts begin at the age the child is first enrolled in the program, and all gifts bear official MSU insignias. Newborns receive a baby bib, 2-year-olds are given an MSU cowbell, 4-year-olds get an activity book for coloring and 6-year-olds receive a school kit with a pencil bag and other school supplies. Sport packs are the gifts at age 8, sunglasses at age 10 and earbuds at age 12, while 14-year-olds receive a T-shirt and 16-year-olds receive an MSU car decal and phone wallet.

In February, the association began distributing gifts, which will be received during the birth month of each child. Among early enrollees of the program are the grandchildren of Tommy Roberson, the immediate former national president for the MSU Alumni Association board of directors.

“Since the Alumni Association began planning the Legacy Program last fall, I’ve been really excited to get my grandchildren enrolled,” said Roberson, a 1967 graduate who resides in Madison.

In regards to the impact of the program, he continued, “I love any opportunity to spread Maroon and White through the whole family, and this is a great way to make my grandkids feel even more a part of the Bulldog community.”

The children of 2007 communication alumnus George Dunn join Roberson’s grandchildren as some of the earliest enrollees of the program.

When asked about the value he sees in the program, the New Orleans native said, “I think the Legacy Program is a great tool to help bring your kids up as Bulldogs. My three are so excited to receive their birthday gifts, and since it’s no additional cost to me as an active member of the association, it’s a win-win. It’s an easy and fun way to recruit little Bulldogs.”

Casey McGee, the Alumni Association’s assistant coordinator for chapter and recruitment programs, has high hopes for the future of program enrollees and the possibility of Mississippi State becoming something more than a community for them.

“As members of the Legacy Program reach 16 and begin contemplating their future, their enrollment ends. However, the love for MSU that the children’s parents or grandparents have fostered in them will hopefully continue,” McGee said.

She continued, “As they transition into preparing for that future, the MSU Office of Admissions and Scholarships will be available to help them explore Mississippi State as the place where they can continue the legacy of an MSU education.”

Along with connecting its enrollees to MSU as they grow older, the Legacy Program brings together a nationwide family of young Bulldogs connected by the love their grandparents and parents hold for MSU and wish to pass on. It’s yet another tool that the Alumni Association uses to make the growing network of living alumni—numbering over 137,000—feel even more unified.