Roanoke College receives estate gift for Business Administration and Economics students

October 5, 2016

john-spitzWe are pleased to announce and gratefully acknowledge the life and career contributions of Dr. John V. Spitz and Mrs. Lela Spitz.

John Spitz joined Roanoke College as a professor of Economics in 1969, and he went on to serve a distinguished career teaching business and economics and inspiring many young people to pursue careers in the field. His appreciation for business began as a child, through his father’s successful stores and services, and his outlook was further informed as a youth, fleeing Nazi-controlled Germany and ultimately settling with his family in the United States. He earned his B.A. at Duke University and his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee.

Lela Spitz was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Knoxville Business College, and she worked for many years in the Roanoke College Admissions office. She was very active in community affairs serving on multiple Roanoke Valley non-profit boards of directors. She also was a political activist working for the Equal Rights Amendment and consumer rights.

The Spitzes’ estate gift will establish the Dr. John and Lela Spitz Endowed Scholarship in Business Administration and Economics. It will be awarded to a rising senior student with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, with preference given to a student with significant loan indebtedness. A portion of the estate will also be used to establish an endowment to provide an annual award of $500 to the Dr. John and Lela Spitz Outstanding Student in Business Analytics (Quantitative Methods).

Other funds will be used to establish the Dr. John and Lela Spitz Endowment to support programming intended to provide Roanoke College students with training, skills and confidence to be successful entrepreneurs. Funds may also be used to support student projects and research, travel for conferences, field trips, awards, lectures/workshops for students, the Federal Reserve Challenge and other opportunities as they may be identified and approved by the Dean of the College and the chair of the Business Administration and Economics Department in support of students.

Additional estate proceeds, which may be distributed to Roanoke in the future, will be subject to designation by the Board of Trustees to support the highest need of the College.