Gary and Nancy Ozzello: Leaving a Legacy


Gary Ozzello's 30-year association with Colorado State University has impacted his life so profoundly that he took steps to ensure he repaid the favor. Gary knew he wanted to make a substantial gift to the University, but not having the immediate capability to do so prompted some creative thinking.

Gary's inquiry began at his son's baseball game where he simply ran his idea by friend and colleague Karen Dunbar, chief financial officer of Colorado State University Foundation. The question? — "Can you designate CSU as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy?" The answer — "You certainly can!" As it turns out, including CSU as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, IRA, or other retirement plan is as easy as filling out the paperwork provided by your retirement plan or insurance administrator.

Approval from his family was simple considering the Ozzello family wouldn't even begin to know what life would be like without CSU! Gary not only earned his degree in journalism from CSU, he started working in the media relations department and married Nancy, a Fort Collins native, all within a month of graduating.

Thirty years later, as CSU's senior associate athletics director, Gary is as enthusiastic about his CSU experience as the day he first visited campus when he was in high school. His passion for CSU has been so contagious that Gary's brother and sister also attended CSU, as well as his son, who graduated in 2010, and daughter, who currently is a student. As for his wife, Nancy, Gary says, "She is the most devout Ram fan I know!"

Gary has designated his gift to athletic scholarship support and says, "The most exciting part of my job is I know when we walk in the doors in the morning and when we leave at night we are making a difference in the lives of student-athletes. If this contribution makes a difference in the life of even one student-athlete, I'm happy with that."

Gary goes on to say, "Most importantly, it's about walking the walk. We can't look outside of our borders and expect people to give back unless those of us inside are willing to take that step."