Alumna Pays Tribute to Her Family’s History by Supporting CARE Students

Maybird Heeth

Alumna Lindy Benton (’78) comes from a long line of proud Florida State University alumni, beginning in 1910 when her great aunt Maybird Heeth graduated from the Florida State College for Women. She was familiar with Florida State growing up, remembering family trips to Callaway Gardens every summer to see performances from the FSU Flying High Circus. It’s no surprise she participated in the circus during her freshman year on campus—a memory she cherishes the most—but Benton expressed the significance FSU continues to hold in the lives of both herself and her family even after graduating.

“Members of the Heeth family have gone on to become business executives and leaders, attorneys, government officials and teachers,” Benton shared. “Earning our degrees from Florida State has opened up countless opportunities for us, and future FSU students in our family, both intellectually and socially throughout our lives.”

Today, Benton continues to be an active part of the university, serving on the FSU Alumni Association Board of Directors. It was through this role that Benton heard directly from former Dean of Undergraduate Studies Karen Laughlin about her ongoing work with the FSU Center of Academic Retention and Enhancement. 

“She spoke about the positive difference the CARE program made in the lives of students by fighting hard to ensure their success at FSU,” Benton expressed, recalling the late Dean Laughlin phrasing it as, ‘whatever it takes.’ 

Established in 1968 as Horizons Unlimited, CARE provides traditionally underrepresented students with resources, tools and a network of support to aid in their academic and personal development. Understanding the difficulties many students face throughout college, Benton knew just how important this program was at FSU. “Making that transition to college can be difficult,” she said. “But it can be particularly challenging for those students who are the first in their families to attend college or have been disadvantaged by cultural or economic circumstances.”

After learning more about the services the CARE program offers—including the Summer Bridge Program, specialized mentoring and other engagement opportunities geared toward improving student retention and graduation rates—Benton wanted to ensure more FSU students can find success through CARE by committing $30,000 to establish the Heeth Family First-Generation Scholarship Fund.

While providing much-needed support to students actively engaged in the CARE program, the Heeth Family First-Generation Scholarship was designed to start awarding scholarships immediately—a testament to her family’s commitment to education. 

“I believe investing in the leaders of tomorrow enriches our entire community, and many CARE students have distinguished themselves as leaders,” Benton shared. “Scholarships recognize hard work and reward success. Your support really can make a dream come true, and the Heeth family hopes that we are able to ease students’ paths to excelling at Florida State.”

Learn more about the CARE program and how you can support.