Anne and Kent McIntosh wanted their legacy after a lifelong farming career to help sustain agricultural education in New Mexico through an endowed scholarship in honor of their nephew.
When the McIntoshes decided to retire after 45 years of farming in Kentucky, they found a new home in Las Cruces. Anne, who grew up in the nearby community of Tularosa, suggested Las Cruces because Holloman Air Force Base had been home to Kent in the 1960s. They loved the climate, with the chance to play golf almost every day of the year.
They also felt attracted to the work being done in New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, because its focus on research into techniques and technologies that improve agricultural outcomes resonated with them and their own experiences in farming.
“In our last 10 to 15 years of farming, we realized that running a farm involved more than financial resources and back-breaking work. We were working diligently to keep up with evolving science and technology that was critical to our operation,” Anne said. “We both loved the farm and often talked about the importance of attracting young people to agriculture. Be it producing crops; equipment technology; or plant, herbicide, insecticide and fertilizer science; we saw a growing demand for agricultural related careers.”
The McIntoshes decided to make a gift to the NMSU Foundation to honor someone who had been leading the charge to educate future agriculturists: their nephew Michael Gaines. Gaines and his wife Melody, both graduates of NMSU and recently retired, taught vocational agriculture at the high school level in Mescalero, Ruidoso, Carrizozo and Socorro, New Mexico.
“Both are dedicated educators who have gone the extra mile in helping students in the classroom, as well as numerous extracurricular and community activities,” Anne said. “They have been very instrumental in preparing students to meet the challenges of agricultural-related careers or other life situations. They have contributed so much to young people in New Mexico.”
Their gift is a combination of a multi-year pledged gift and a portion of their estate, enabling them to continue supporting students and making them eligible for membership in the 1888 Society. NMSU’s 1888 Society recognizes individuals who have notified NMSU that that the university is included in their estate plans as the beneficiary of a will, trust, life income gift, life insurance policy, retirement plan, or other planned gift.
“I was just floored,” Michael said, of learning about the scholarship from his aunt and uncle. “I really appreciate that they are willing to put money into the educational future of a lot of students. When they see our family name, I want the students to recognize that we were teachers, and that we loved what we did.”
The scholarship is already supporting students, including Dakota Tharp, who was a recipient this year of the Michael G. Gaines Family Endowed Scholarship. A National FFA Organization chapter president from Las Cruces, Tharp said the help made a huge difference to kick off her freshman year.
“It’s a fresh start,” said Tharp, who is currently studying animal science. “It’s so humbling to know that people you haven’t even met are counting on you to succeed. It has made me more driven and motivated.”
“Kent and Anne McIntosh have made current and estate gifts for our university that are deeply personal, and honor their family’s agricultural legacy,” said Robert D. Peterson, gift planning director at the NMSU Foundation.
“Michael and Melody Gaines’ Aggie story shows how an NMSU education supports stellar careers of service that empower young people,” Peterson said. “The gifts made in their honor not only bring NMSU to the next level of excellence, but they are celebrations of the lives of those who made them.”
Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU