I am greatly appreciative of the career opportunities that have been afforded to me as a member of NIRSA for over 15 years. Every day I am reminded that I am in the business of helping people strive for optimal wellbeing. It’s one of the best jobs in the world—helping people thrive. To do this work effectively means always learning, staying ahead of trends, and educating yourself on the best ways to positively impact students. Without NIRSA—the family I have created within the Association and the professional development opportunities NIRSA provides—I would not be able to follow this calling of helping people live their best lives.

NIRSA has long been a staple in my life and a big part of who I am as a professional. When my mentor, Suzi Smith, Director at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, reached out about the NIRSA Foundation Legacy Society, I thought, “What a great opportunity to give back!” As a mid-level (or young, depending on who you ask) professional, I found it hard to commit a lot of money to support the NIRSA Foundation and all the opportunities they provide right now. However, receiving NIRSA Foundation scholarships to attend the Annual Conference when my small program couldn’t afford to send me was a life-saver in my current role. There is no way we would have built St. Edward’s Recreation and Wellness into the program it is today without the learning and education afforded me by receiving the scholarships.

When it comes to giving back, I want to do more, but I don’t currently have the capability to give at a high level. The reality of having a young family, living in an urban environment, and working in higher education doesn’t exactly equate to having disposable income. My wife, Denyse, who was involved in RecSports with me at The University of Texas at Austin with Randall Ford, Darci Doll, and Chad McKenzie, knows how important NIRSA and the relationships we cultivate are. When I expressed to her my desire to join the Legacy Society and designate a gift to the NIRSA Foundation in our estate planning, she was more than happy to support the idea. It gives us a way to plan to give back, a chance to give at a level we felt was appropriate considering how much NIRSA has given us over the years.

The Legacy Society isn’t only about making a gift for seasoned professionals who may be considering their estate planning and impending retirement. It’s for all of us who want to leave a message of gratitude to an association that has provided us with so much, so that we can provide amazing experiences to the students and communities we serve. I encourage everyone to take a look at the opportunities available with the NIRSA Foundation. Consider working with the Foundation to see if joining the Legacy Society makes sense for your family. You can make a lasting difference to the future of campus rec and on your NIRSA family by joining the NIRSA Foundation Legacy Society.


Andrew (Andy) Lemons, RCRSP, is currently the Director of Campus Recreation at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. He serves on the NIRSA Small Programs Advisory Council and as the Region IV Representative on the Member Network. He can be reached at andyl@stedwards.edu.