Finding your passion in life is not always easy. Once found, living that passion and sharing it with others is what life is all about. For Bridgette Kelch (class of 2000), her love for learning and history, combined with some fortunate timing, lead her to her passion.
Transferring from a community college and uncertain of where life would take her next, Bridgette attended orientation at Southeast Missouri State. As she walked through the various booths, a conversation about historic preservation peaked her attention. Bridgette recalls, “I felt like it was meant to be at that moment.”
With clarity of what she wanted to do next, Bridgette declared a historic preservation major. Because she had many of her general education credits complete, Bridgette was able to dive into her major classes. “I had a really good time at SEMO. I received a well-rounded education that put me into an amazingly fulfilling career. The University gave me a solid standing for my professional life, and I am grateful for that.”
Bridgette credits Dr. Steven Hoffman, professor of history, with helping her grow her love of historic preservation, as well as keeping her connected to the University. “Dr. Hoffman makes the effort to keep alumni engaged. He provides a link back to the University. This made me realize that SEMO is still here for me, even though I graduated a long time ago.”
A few years passed after graduating, and Bridgette began to feel more financially comfortable. She settled into a career that she loves and started thinking about the role the University played in helping her get to this new position in life. “I decided to start contributing to the University. I hope that my contribution will allow the University to grow and expand over the years. I feel lucky to have had the SEMO experience, and I hope my small contribution will help someone else discover their future and passion in life.”
After seeing how much of an impact her monthly donation made to Southeast students, Bridgette considered her options for making a planned gift. “Even if you don’t have the finances now, it is never too early to start thinking about how you want to manage your finances now or later in life. You would be amazed at all the different ways you can give. Estate planning not only benefits SEMO, but there are numerous tax benefits for the individual. All you need to do is find the right partner to help you figure it out.”
Bridgette considered who helped her on her path in life and what is important to her. She knew she wanted to help future students find their passion. Her generosity, now and in the future, will change the lives of Southeast students, today and tomorrow.