Philanthropist, Bulldog, alumni leader ... These are only a few of the roles in which Geraldine "Gerry" (Toth) Ready ('70) truly excels.
Gerry's lifelong commitment to Truman and its progress can be traced to her college experience and the foundation for future success.
"The education, encouragement and mentoring I received at Northeast Missouri State College allowed me to grow, prosper and enjoy a wonderful career and a good life," Gerry says.
A week after graduating in August 1970, Gerry found herself in New York City working for J.C. Penney.
"During my career in merchandise and systems development, I repeatedly saw that a person with a well-rounded education was, and is, a tremendous asset to any profession. I wanted to help ensure that Truman State University continues to graduate individuals who are liberally educated and can apply what they have learned to any profession they may choose."
Her commitment to providing scholarship support for current students can also be traced to her undergraduate years. Gerry worked full time at a minimum wage job to pay for her college tuition and her living expenses.
"We know that it is no longer financially possible for a student to work full time at a minimum-wage job and pay for a full course load of classes, room, board, fees and incidentals, and study efficiently at the same time without substantial financial assistance from parents or student loans - leaving the student saddled with enormous debt when they graduate," Gerry says.
So she and her husband, Michael, decided to support the University with their charitable gifts.
"We wanted to help a student graduate with a minimum of debt, and knew that by combining our gift resources we would be able to accomplish this goal several times over."
Over the years, Gerry and Michael have contributed to several existing scholarship funds honoring former educators who were influential in Gerry's education and the education of countless others. Among these are the Dr. John D. Black Memorial Scholarship, the Charles Kauzlarich Scholarship and the John P. Mullin Scholarship.
"By supporting their named scholarship funds, we honor their memory and help to ensure that their legacy of teaching, mentoring and caring for students lives on," Gerry says.
In 2012, Gerry and Michael created their own endowed scholarship to focus a portion of their giving toward assisting students from their home states of Missouri and Vermont, who demonstrate financial need and significant leadership potential. The Michael J. and Geraldine M. Ready Scholarship Fund was established with a six-figure planned gift commitment of life insurance proceeds coupled with IRA assets.
"We knew that we wanted to leave a legacy gift to Truman State University," Gerry says, "and naming Truman State University as beneficiary was a very simple way to accomplish it."