Generations of Showing Up

Barbara McKee Bays, Class of 1978

Katie Holland, Class of 2013

“When I was at Roanoke, I wanted to be Professor Lynn Eckman when I ‘grew up,’” says Barbara McKee Bays ’78. “Lynn taught French and economics. She was my second mom. She was a tiny force of nature, always positive, always full of joy, and she shared that with everyone. I wanted to live my life like that.”

Barbara has contributed to The Lynn Eckman Memorial Scholarship to support Roanoke’s emphasis on a global study experience for students like Katie Holland, who spent a semester in Rennes, France.

“The experience changed my life,” Katie says. “While I was there I traveled to eight other countries. Learning different languages and cultures opened my perspective in so many ways that I can apply to my studies at Roanoke.” She says being immersed in another culture has made her want to spend even more time living and working abroad. Her next Roanoke global experience will be in China. “Eventually, I would love to work for the State Department, possibly within a foreign embassy,” she says.

Bays, who earned a merit scholarship and spent one of her college summers working in France thanks to Roanoke, supports the Eckman Scholarship through her father’s foundation. “My dad grew up in the Great Depression and was lucky enough to get a scholarship first to college and then to law school. He never forgot what those institutions had done for him. He gave back to them and taught me to do the same.” Bays describes her parents as “show-er uppers” who were always trying to make the world a little better. They taught her to show up as well. After Roanoke, she founded a nonprofit with a fellow alumna and is deeply engaged in service in her Raleigh community.

“In this world, we all go up or down together,” Barbara says. “We can’t let the knowledge, the time and the attention from people like Lynn Eckman go by the wayside. Education’s real value is what you do with it to improve your own life and the lives of others.”

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