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Why I Give: Terrie De La Garza '79

Terrie De La GarzaI grew up in Robstown and ended up in Abilene because my (now former) husband was stationed at Dyess AFB. I was working at a store that our landlord owned when a customer came in one day and saw me reading materials from another local college. Having just moved to Abilene, I was unaware that Abilene was home to three colleges. This gentleman told me a little about Hardin-Simmons and asked if I would read materials from HSU if he brought them to me. I told him that I would.

A few days later, this man came back in the store with information for me about HSU. As a result of his action, I ended up applying to Hardin-Simmons and enrolling. The man who introduced me to HSU was Mr. Bill Tippen, a 1943 graduate, whom I later learned has a long family history with Hardin-Simmons. It was not until I was a student working in the business office that I learned Mr. Tippen was also a member of the HSU Board of Trustees. I was impressed that a busy person like him would take the time to talk to a young store clerk like me about Hardin-Simmons.

Although I didn't live on campus and have the "traditional student experience," I enjoyed my time at Hardin-Simmons. I especially liked working for Mary Brown in the business office. She and others treated me like family. I'm hoping that my granddaughter will follow in my footsteps and become a member of the HSU family in the fall of 2018.

Hardin-Simmons prepared me very well for my career in education. I recently retired after 37 years combined as a teacher and school district administrator. My last position was in Human Resources with Northside ISD. Our school district didn't receive many applications from HSU graduates, but when we did, I knew they were some of the best-prepared teachers anywhere. As a matter of fact, an HSU graduate, who did her student teaching at one of Northside's schools, was my granddaughter and grandson's Language Arts teacher and did an exceptional job.

I started making occasional small gifts to HSU a few years after graduating. As a single grandmother raising two grandchildren, I can't give a lot. However, ten years ago, I began making small monthly gifts by bank draft. This is an easy way to give, and I've been able to make small increases in my gifts through the years. My gifts aren't large, but they're consistent. I know that combined with gifts from others, together we're making a real impact on students.

I'm grateful for the quality education I received at Hardin-Simmons, and for the faculty and staff who invested themselves in my life. It's only natural to want to do the same for others.

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