Text Resize
Print This
Email This
Request Illustration

Legend vs. Legacy — Alum Makes "Impactful" Gift as a Way to Say Thanks

Legend vs. Legacy — Alum Makes

When you phone or email Raymond "Buster" Nelson '77 these days, you can't help but notice his overwhelming spirit of gratitude. His outgoing voicemail includes a recording of the song "We Give You Thanks" by the group Sound of Blackness and his email signature includes the quote "Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships."

Thankfulness is what inspired Nelson to create the Buster Nelson Scholarship at Frostburg State University. The award is presented to first-generation college students who are business majors with expressed financial need with preference to those involved in TRIO Student Support Services or the Black Student Alliance.

"Frostburg is the cornerstone to all the success I've had in life," Nelson said. "I want to help other student live their dreams."

The Virginia resident came to Frostburg to play basketball. He has since become an inductee to the Bobcat Hall of Fame in 1982 and a recipient of FSU's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. After leaving college with his business administration degree, Nelson worked in finance for two years before joining State Farm Insurance as a claims adjustor.

"The entrepreneur bug bit me," he joked in regard to launching his own State Farm agency in 1983.

Nelson was challenged by a fellow Frostburg alum to think about the "Three Ts" -- talent, time and treasure - and how he could give back to his alma mater. He joined FSU's Alumni Association and has been a member of the FSU Foundation Board of Directors. Nelson enjoys seeing the results of his giving.

"When people feel a part of a community, that's when their giving increases," he said, noting that many want to know how their donations will make an impact. "I'm a firm believer that people will give if they understand the why and the how."

Nelson thought about his own legacy at Frostburg. At first, he reflected on his accomplishments on the basketball court, but realized that was his legend and not necessarily his legacy.

"That's when I became more intentional in my giving."

He created the scholarship at Frostburg as a way to honor his mother who encouraged "Buster" and his brother Frazer "Nitty" '78 to get college degrees. Nelson was able to establish the scholarship and endow it with the assistance of State Farm's matching gift program.

Nelson encouraged other alumni to inquire about matching gift programs at their companies to see if they could benefit FSU. "People want to give, but they don't know how to give and be impactful."

Frostburg also made an impact on Nelson by giving him a core of forever friends. Affectionately dubbed "The Bobcat Brothers," the small group travels regularly together and have visited sports halls of fame, historical spots in African American history and race even tracks.

"My college friends are my lifetime friends," he added.

He wants all alumni to reflect on their days at FSU, the friendships they made, their needs and dreams and to give back with their own three gifts of time, treasure and talent.

"Think about when you were a student at Frostburg, and about your greatest needs while you were there. In these ways, you can give back to students," he said. "It's not the amount, it's the gift. And every gift helps."

To make your own planned gift to Frostburg State University contact Liz Nelson, Planned Giving officer, at [email protected] or 301-687-3163.
Print This
Email This
Request Illustration