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Gary and Barbara Maxwell

A degree in physics from Chadron State College put Gary Maxwell on track for a decade of work in optical science, followed by a successful career in real estate. It also left Gary, a 1957 graduate, with an enduring interest in helping advance science education in the Nebraska Panhandle.

Gary and his wife, Barbara, are among members of The Chadron State Foundation's Living Legacy Society who have chosen to support the renovation and expansion of the CSC Math Science building in their estate planning.

"I feel that [Math Science Initiative] is definitely a plus to get the best science program there that we can," says Gary, an Alliance native who now lives in southern California.

Gary had completed military service and earned an associate's degree in photographic science when his desire for further science education led him to Chadron State. Dr. Lyle Andrews, chair of the science department at the time, was instrumental in convincing Gary to pursue a physics degree.

Following his education, Gary took a job at Bausch and Lomb, the Rochester-based optical instrument manufacturer, where his work included a project to improve the image quality of aerial photographs.

Although his direct connections to the Nebraska Panhandle are mostly in the past, Gary said he has fond memories of the region.

"That's quite an area there. You don't realize it when you are there, but when you leave, you appreciate it," he says.

The education Gary received at Chadron State has proved to be an important part of his later life.

"It was very important that I got the bachelor's degree," he says. "It got me set up to continue on."

Like the Maxwells, you can support programs you care about at Chadron State College through a gift in your estate plan. To learn more about your gift options, contact Ben Watson at 308-432-7007 or