Understanding The Need
Mary Ann and Gordon Gibson ‘55 have recognized the need for special education teachers for the last 58 years. Their understanding stemmed from their son Glenn’s developmental disabilities. Glenn spent years in a private school before enrolling in a public school and becoming involved with Special Olympics. The Gibsons supported that involvement which provided exercise and a social outlet for their son.
Mary Ann had many interests throughout the years, but focused on keeping Gordon, Glenn and their daughter Sharon, organized and headed in the right direction.
Gordon, who earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from Texas A&M University, spent 52 years at Lockheed Martin.
“I worked on just about every airplane that you can think of… F16’s, F-22’s, F-35’s, and maybe a few others in between,” he commented.
He retired as the director of configuration development and was the recipient of the SAE Kelly Johnson award for aerospace vehicle design and development. Like many former students, Gordon has given back to his alma mater and supported various disciplines in engineering and the corps.
In 2005, the Gibson’s began supporting students interested in becoming special education teachers. Their daughter, Sharon, graduated from the college with a certificate in special education and Glenn loved to come visit her in Aggieland.
Gordon’s business acumen led him to fund the Glenn G. Gibson and Sharon L. Gibson Scholarship with a qualified distribution from his IRA, reducing his tax burden by donating the funds from his required distribution amount.
Mary Ann told Gordon it was time to give to education saying, “We need good teachers.”
Ever since that time, Mary Ann, Gordon and Glenn have been guests at the annual Donor Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the college allowing them to interact with the beneficiaries of their generosity.
“I’m impressed with the students,” Mary Ann stated. “They seem interested; they’ve worked with children who have special abilities. Most of them they have spent time, either in middle school or in high school, working and helping in special needs programs along the way. They’re not just coming in saying, ‘Oh, I’m going to go help,’ they have a background already and that’s impressive.”
The Gibsons have been so impressed that they established the Gibson Family Camp LIFE Endowment in 2013, with another qualified distribution from their IRA. The camp is a unique, inclusive outdoor adventure for children with disabilities and their siblings. It provides recreation for children ages 5 and up with disabilities and their siblings while offering a weekend of respite for their parents.
In 2018, the Gibsons established the Mary Ann and Gordon Gibson ’55 Dean’s Education Scholars Award with yet another qualified distribution from their IRA. This $100,000 endowment will provide approximately $4,000 a year to support a student seeking to become a special education teacher.
“We hope, as most people that give scholarships do, that those students will eventually pay it forward and reinvest in the school and set up their own scholarships,” Mary Ann adds.
While Mary Ann lovingly chides Gordon that they may need to keep more of their IRA for their retirement, she eagerly asks about the new Aggie ACHIEVE program.
Aggie ACHIEVE is in the first semester of providing an inclusive and immersive college education for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The goal is to equip them for employment in the community.
Mary Ann knows there is a need and predicts the program will grow. Their life experiences have taught them to understand the need for special education. Their altruistic nature has caused them to help ensure qualified teachers and programs are available to parents and their children with disabilities.
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