A $7.2 million gift from the Charles E. and Viola G. Bardsley Estate will endow a scholarship program for Mississippi State University veterinary students.
The Bardsleys, who were residents of Ocean Springs in their later years, began supporting Mississippi State in 1996 with the creation of an annual academic scholarship with the College of Veterinary Medicine. The scholarship is awarded to the fourth-year senior who has attained the highest cumulative grade point average during the professional program.
“Our college gratefully appreciates and will uphold the wishes of the Bardsleys to educate promising students and make available scholarships to those with potential who may need financial assistance,” said Dr. Kent Hoblet, CVM dean. “The students benefiting from their generosity will address the health and well-being of animals and associated human and environmental health issues through modern veterinary medical science.”
The Bardsleys were long-time animal lovers and veterinary education advocates. The late Charles Bardsley shared a rich history with Mississippi State. A native of Newport, Rhode Island, he received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Rhode Island and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from MSU in 1950 and 1959. An accomplished trumpet player, he wrote and arranged music for a number of bands, including MSU’s Famous Maroon Band. Bardsley had a distinguished career in the development of pesticides and related work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Viola Georgetta Bardsley was a native of Litchfield, Illinois. She earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Illinois and a master’s from the University of Missouri. She taught chemistry at the college level and was a senior chemist and technical associate with Mallinckrodt Chemical Co.
Before their death, the Bardsleys established 24 gift annuities that benefited them and the university. After Viola’s death in 2015, the remainder from the annuities and a bequest through her will created the Charles E. and Viola G. Bardsley Endowed Scholarship in Veterinary Medicine.
“Because of the way the Bardsleys’ bequest was structured, CVM has more than $7 million in a new endowment,” said Jimmy Kight, the college’s director of development. “The earnings from the endowment will result in significant yearly support of our students.”
Scholarships are awarded based on G.P.A., merit and focus areas. The estate gift nearly doubles the college’s overall endowment, and earnings from the endowment will continue the scholarships the couple held dear.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.