STARKVILLE, Miss.--The bequest of Richard G. "Dick" Wiggers, a late Columbus insurance executive, will complete a Mississippi State scholarship in business.
An endowment memorializing him will benefit an established scholarship that bears his name in the university's College of Business. The academic award was created in 2002 by James C. Galloway Jr., Wiggers' longtime business partner.
Earnings from the endowment will be used annually to recognize a student majoring in risk management and insurance.
Wiggers' insurance career spanned 60 years, including work with agencies in Columbus, Jackson and Indianola. He founded the Wiggers Insurance Agency in Columbus in 1967 and was employed by its successor agency. In 2003, he was inducted into MSU's Insurance Hall of Fame. He died in January of this year.
"Dad loved Mississippi State and was extremely pleased to have a scholarship at the university as part of his legacy," said son Gray Wiggers of Jackson. "He worked diligently as an ambassador of insurance throughout the state."
The goal of the Wiggers Scholarship "is to aid in 'paying forward' the opportunity for a deserving MSU student pursuing a career in the insurance industry," Galloway said. "That's why we were extremely pleased to be able to honor him in such a meaningful way."
Galloway joined Wiggers in 1981 and purchased the agency in 1983. Wiggers continued to work parttime.
Galloway said his longtime friend and former business partner enjoyed a very successful career in the insurance industry. "Dick Wiggers gave me the opportunity to join him in the business and do the same," he added.
An Indianola native, Wiggers attended Mississippi State on a football scholarship in 1941. He served as captain of both basketball and football teams and was a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member.
During World War II, he left the university to volunteer for active military service in the U.S. Army, where he earned the rank of first lieutenant in the infantry and served in North Africa and Italy. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his exemplary conduct in the 351st Infantry Regiment during the Rome-Arno River campaign in June 1944, as well as the Purple Heart.
He and the former Mary Kathryn "Kat" Kerr, originally of Louisville and now of Ridgeland, were married for 60 years. The two were introduced by their good friend, MSU alumnus and former World War II officer, the late G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery. In addition to Gray Wiggers, the couple are the parents of Ann Wiggers DeWeese of Philadelphia and Dane Wiggers Dean of Lawrenceville, Ga.
Wiggers was a 32nd Degree Mason and a longtime volunteer fundraiser for the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus.
The Richard Wiggers Endowed Scholarship is an open fund in the MSU Foundation and may be increased through additional contributions. For more information, contact Jack McCarty, the business college's development director, at 662-325-9580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.