Ken and Susan Garrett met at LSU and attribute the professional opportunities they have had to the education they received here. It was the alumni at Texas A&M, however, that inspired them to give back to their alma mater.
The Garretts’ son attended Texas A&M. Ken said seeing the spirit of the school’s alumni and the way they give back humbled him. “We need to have that same spirit for our school, to give generously,” he said.
Ken and Susan began giving four years ago, making periodic donations to several funds. Then, they considered their gifts as a way to make an impact on the university. “We’d been thinking of a bigger way to give back to LSU, and Wayne Miller and Lindsey Kelly encouraged us to consider it,” Susan shared of her and Ken’s collaboration with the college’s development team.
“We decided to go ahead and do a scholarship for the College of Human Sciences & Education.” Ken explained, “I guess, for me, it just became a way to look back on a university that we both love and say, ‘You’ve done a lot for us, and we want to give back to you.’ Our company, Chevron, encourages us to give back through their matching funds.”
Ken said Chevron’s matching gift partnership with the LSU Foundation helped make it possible for him and his wife to fund a scholarship opportunity.
“The matching gift program is important because it’s a way for Chevron to encourage employees to give back to what’s important to you. In our case, that’s LSU. Chevron says, ‘If it’s important to you, it’s important to us.’”
Warner Williams, vice president of Chevron in the Gulf of Mexico, says the giving program reflects the company’s approach to community engagement.
He explained, “At Chevron, we strive to be a good neighbor, contributing to the communities in which we work and live. Locally, Chevron partners with countless groups focused on the environmental, economic, educational and overall health and social well-being of Louisiana. It’s especially important to us to support causes that are important to our employees and retirees. Together, with the one-to-one match, we can make a bigger impact. We encourage all our Chevron staff to take advantage of this special program in order to create a better future for our state.”
The Kenneth and Susan Garrett Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to students in the College of Human Sciences & Education. “The reason people become engineers and doctors and accountants is because someone taught them,” Susan explained. “We need teachers, and we need good teachers. We want to support those that want to teach and make our society better and Louisiana better.”
Ken and Susan said that they intend for the scholarship to give back to students so that they can carry on the rich legacy of LSU. Ken shared that part of what motivated them to give was a desire to help offset the impact of limited state budget dollars. He said, “LSU opened up a lot of doors for us … It’s humbling when you see other universities with loyal alumni. It’s time for [LSU] alumni to be loyal as well.”
Published in Cornerstone Winter and Spring 2014.