Gordon helps alumni, friends initiate estate plans

Wes Gordon is always planning for the future. With four young children, he believes there is no better time to consider the steps necessary to secure the financial future of his family. Going forward, he wants to share his knowledge of estate planning with alumni and friends of Mississippi State University.

“I grew up loving MSU, and I am proud to share my passion for the success of the university and help my fellow alumni,” Gordon said.

In May, Gordon began leading planned-giving efforts for the MSU Foundation. He has worked with fundraising throughout the university for the past six years. He earned a bachelor’s in physical education in 2004 and a master’s in sport administration the following year.

Gordon joined the MSU Foundation in 2010 after a successful stint as development director at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. While there, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the institution’s UWA Foundation, managed a sizable donor portfolio for outright and planned giving, and implemented the institution’s first comprehensive capital campaign.

At Mississippi State, Gordon’s experience has grown through fundraising for the Division of Student Affairs. He has primarily helped graduates find ways to continue their association with MSU, whether it be volunteering or financially supporting areas across campus.

Most recently, Gordon assisted several alumni with estate planning, including Malcolm Lightsey, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics in 1961 and 1963, respectively. A former Mississippi State tennis player, he resides in Ridgeland with his wife, Joy. He is the retired president of SunTech Inc., while she retired as vice president from the company.

The Lightseys worked with Gordon and other Foundation personnel to create a charitable gift plan tailored for their needs and that includes MSU as a beneficiary. A bequest from the couple will one day benefit the university as a whole and also support the Bulldog Club.

“Malcolm and Joy know their support of MSU will be perpetual because their estate plan suits their needs now and achieves their goals over time,” Gordon said.

For Gordon, the enthusiasm for his new role as planned giving director continues to grow with each Bulldog he helps.

“MSU is not what we do, it is part of who we are. And planned gifts are among the most thoughtful gifts a person can use to create a legacy,” Gordon said. “The benefits of these gifts enable donors to impact their lives, their futures and, in some instances, future generations of students and faculty at Mississippi State.”

By Amy Cagle | Photo by Russ Houston

A look inside Planned Giving at MSU

The MSU Foundation wants to help alumni and friends simplify their estate planning process and solidify their Forever Maroon and White connections. Some simple questions can help individuals begin designing their plans.

What is a planned gift? A planned gift is a lifetime or testamentary charitable gift made as part of a donor’s personal, financial or estate planning. Depending on the type of gift, a donor can receive benefits such as an income tax deduction, estate tax deduction, capital gains bypass and income.

What planned gifts does MSU accept? The most common planned gifts to MSU are bequests through a will and charitable gift annuities. The university also accepts charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, qualified retirement plans and retained life estates.

How will a planned gift make an impact? Like an outright gift, a planned gift can be designated to an area of the donor’s choice. Planned gifts to MSU support many areas including scholarships, professorships, building projects and excellence funds.

An MSU gift agreement can be executed to outline the donor’s intent for the use of the gift, in addition to any necessary legal documents.

Alumni and friends may initiate charitable gift planning with Wes Gordon in the MSU Foundation’s Office of Planned Giving or visit the MSU Foundation website at msugiftplanning.org.

Those who have already included MSU in estate plans should contact Gordon at 662.325.3707 or wgordon@foundation.msstate.edu to be acknowledged as a member of the prestigious Old Main Society. All planned gifts to Mississippi State at this time are part of the university’s ongoing capital campaign known as Infinite Impact.