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Leaving a Legacy: Karen Westgate

Leaving a Legacy: Karen Westgate

The photo from our trip to St. Louis with Bradford's jersey in the middle. From left to right Joanne Marti, Patti Crosby, Judy Boyes Karen Westgate, Janie Lowe.
As a longtime friend and supporter of OU, alumna Karen Westgate knows that OU pride runs deep. "Once OU is in your blood, it's just there. I really believe there is only one Oklahoma," she says. In her years as a student, Westgate embraced every opportunity to get involved in the campus community. She has fond memories of working for the late David A. Burr in the information booth outside of then President George Lynn Cross's office in Evans Hall, typing recruitment letters to prospective students. Upon her graduation in 1968, Westgate was offered a position as a recruiter for the University.

Leaving a Legacy: Karen Westgate
Westgate says her experiences, both as a student and a staff member, fostered "a sense of belonging to something bigger." She believes that OU teaches values, creates economic opportunities, develops leaders, and fosters lasting relationships – and it is important for the University to continue to do these things in order to remain a leader.

This sense of belonging to a greater network has continued in her work. Since 1982, Westgate has served as a State Farm insurance agent in the state of Oklahoma. An embodiment of the company's slogan, Westgate believes that "it is important to be a good neighbor. Neighborhoods have changed, now they are worldwide. Influence is not confined like it used to be." Westgate appreciates the many ways to stay connected to OU and the utilization of various methods to communicate with alumni and friends.

For over 20 years, Westgate has been a donor to OU. Recently, she made arrangements for a planned gift to the University, in the form of an insurance policy. "It is a greater gift than I can write a check for," she says. "It will outlive my opportunity to give on an annual basis. Planned giving is a legacy; it is a way to be a part of the future." Westgate chose to use life insurance as a tool, which she advises to do when you are young and healthy. This enables you to make provisions to care for your family and for your causes. Westgate's planned gift will establish an endowed scholarship in honor of her son to benefit students who are members of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band.

Westgate was attracted to the concept of a planned gift because it provides security for the future. Although the University does not know when the gift will be actualized, it can plan on receiving the funds. Westgate believes it is important for OU to not be dependent on government funds and to continue its development and growth, saying "the challenge today in higher education is to remain relevant." And she is committed to doing her part to continue the excellence of OU.