L-R: Steve Lindsay, Jean Bagley, Liz Lindsay and Jim Bagley
It is said that passion inspires passion. Similarly, alumni pride in a university serves as a cornerstone for growth, attracting the attention and support of even the most unlikely constituents. By carrying the torch of his alma mater, Jim Bagley helped extend Mississippi State University’s impact and established a new legacy of Maroon and White for Steve and Liz Lindsay along the way.
Nearly 35 years ago, the Lindsays had likely never given a thought to MSU. Today, they’re vital members of the Bulldog family. Inspired by their longtime friends, Jim and Jean Bagley, the Lindsays began supporting MSU, and in doing so, they are changing lives.
Steve and Jim first met when their careers crossed paths in the 1980s. Jim, a 1961 and 1966 MSU electrical engineering alumnus and major university benefactor, was serving as the vice chairman and COO at Applied Materials Inc., where Steve was president of business operations in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. As the two continued working together throughout their progressive careers, their friendship and shared passions for giving also grew.
In 2002, the Lindsays made their first visit to the MSU campus to attend the ceremony that recognized Jim and Jean’s $25 million gift for the naming of the Bagley College of Engineering. Steve admits he wasn’t sure what to expect.
“The mental picture I got when I thought of MSU was a small, mediocre school in the middle of nowhere,” Steve said. “When I saw it, I was blown away. The buildings, the campus and what MSU had to offer were so impressive. I knew I wanted to help bring more students here.”
Since then, the Lindsays have supported various areas across campus, including scholarships, facilities and the Car of the Future. During the renovation of McCain Hall, Steve established the Elizabeth A. Lindsay Suite in Liz’s honor, as well as the John K. Lindsay Office in memory of his father. The Steve and Liz Lindsay Annual Scholarship, which gives preference to entering freshmen and women, has also assisted engineering students at MSU since 2009.
“We chose to support students at Mississippi State because our gifts are not just a drop in the bucket like they might be at other big schools. This is a place where we can really make a difference.”
~ Steve Lindsay
“We have been very fortunate in our lives, and we want to give back,” said Steve, who is a member of the dean’s advisory board for the Bagley College. “When you invest in others, you can changes lives.”
The Arizona couple recently added to their support for the university through the creation of a fellowship bearing their name. Supporting master’s students with an interest in automotive engineering, the Steve and Liz Lindsay Fellowship helps provide tuition, a stipend, insurance and fringe benefits for deserving students.
“We chose to support students at Mississippi State because our gifts are not just a drop in the bucket like they might be at other big schools,” Steve said. “This is a place where we can really make a difference.”
Through their involvement with MSU, the Lindsays have embraced the contagious Bulldog spirit. In experiencing the rich culture and tradition that make up the heart of the university, the pair agrees that the inclusiveness and sense of belonging at Mississippi State is one of the university’s greatest attributes.
“Mississippi State has always made us feel at home,” said Liz, explaining that despite not being MSU alumni, she and Steve have never felt like outsiders. “I think that’s one of the greatest strengths in the quality of education at MSU. Students don’t get lost in the school because it really does feel like a family.”
Recognizing the impact education can have on an individual, the couple’s philanthropic ventures also extend to children in inner-city schools near Liz’s hometown in Massachusetts. Through their gifts, the Lindsays hope to not only support ambitious scholars and further academic programs, but to also instill the value of giving in future generations.
“It all filters down,” Steve said. “Private gifts make a difference in students’ lives, and I hope that those students realize that they can make a difference in someone else’s life as well.”
Without the encouragement of Jim and Jean Bagley, Steve and Liz Lindsay may never have found a home at MSU. What began with pursuant careers in the engineering industry and grew through a common interest in classic cars and travel has become a lifelong bond with profound impacts.
“We have enjoyed the school, the people and our time at Mississippi State,” Liz said. “It’s been a worthwhile endeavor, and we’re just glad to be a part of the university family.”