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The University of South Carolina Aiken Honors Legacy Society Donors

Photo Caption: Chancellor Daniel Heimmermann and his wife Claudia pose with members of the Legacy Society at the annual luncheon. USC Aiken thanks the Legacy Society for their continued support of the university and dedication to the enrichment of its students.

Aiken, SC (11/03/2022) — The University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken) hosted a luncheon in late October to honor its Legacy Society donors.

Legacy Society members are those that have graciously chosen to include USC Aiken in their estate and other planned giving options. Through the willingness of present and past donors to give to the university, USC Aiken students are able to pursue their educational goals.

Over the past year, USC Aiken said goodbye to three valued legacy donors who had a tremendous impact on the university - Dr. Al Marston, Anna Gascoigne-Nixon and John "Coach" Abshire.

Dr. Al Marston, the first Deputy Director of Dupont, gave an endowment for nursing scholarships in memory of his late wife. Marston took a personal interest in the students who received these scholarships and enjoyed talking with them about their future career and plans. In addition to the nursing endowment, Marston also has one for chemistry.

Anna Gascoigne-Nixon chose to contribute an estate gift to the university. Nixon's gift to the university almost doubled the total amount of scholarship money for nursing students each year and has allowed the university to meet significant needs of its nursing students.

John "Coach" Abshire and his wife, Patty, have been supporters and ambassadors for USC Aiken for many years. The iconic horse that stands at the front of campus was a gift from the Abshires, and they also contributed to the School of Nursing.

USC Aiken also welcomed two new members to the Legacy Society - Nelson Danish and Jan Ford.

Mary Jo Usher Steel, a Legacy Donor, was impressed by many aspects of USC Aiken when her daughter, Ginger Hudock, became Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance in 1986. Her daughter's time at the university inspired her to donate to the school. Among her other donations, is the Joseph T. and Mary H. Usher Endowment.

Steel established this endowment for the music department to honor her parents and their love for music. Steel is a passionate fan of classical and jazz music. She studied piano and violin before finding her calling in amateur singing.

"I hope my financial gifts will help students better experience the joys and other benefits of music," said Steel.

Steel's generosity has inspired others in her family to give to the university as well.

Although he is a chemical engineer specializing in Japanese to English technical translation, Joseph Steel, the son of Mary Jo Usher Steel, was inspired by his mother's contributions to the university and joined her in donating to the school's performing arts department.

Steel is a passionate fan of music and holds a special affection for Western classical and jazz music. He grew up in a musical family with his first memories being those of listening to jazz in New Orleans.

"I have a deep passion for music and other performing arts, which I feel are under-supported," said Steel. "We are all interrelated, so being generous ideally helps us to develop of sense of nonattachment to our possession and a desire to nurture those around us."

USC Aiken thanks the Legacy Society for their continued support of the university and dedication to the enrichment of its students.

For information on how to become a member of the Legacy Society, please contact Mary Driscoll at (803) 641-3448. 

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