Maroon ribbons highlight philanthrophic support

April 12, 2016

MaroonRibbons-2For Alumni Weekend, students placed maroon ribbons around campus to highlight many of the spaces, programs and projects made possible thanks to generous and thoughtful gifts from donors.

These ribbons represent the tangible ways that philanthropic dollars support our campus, and the magnitude of the impact of these gifts made an impression on the community and on the many visitors on campus for Alumni Weekend.

Even with this show of color, the maroon ribbons do not begin to recognize all of the people affected by gifts — students receiving scholarships, professorships funded by donors,  the endowment and operating funds that support every aspect of college life year after year.

Roanoke is extraordinary.  Every day, like generations of individuals who have lived and worked on this campus before, Roanoke is touched by the generosity and commitment of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, corporations, foundations, and friends of the College.

Alumni reconnect for humanitarian purpose

December 22, 2015

Like many fraternity brothers, Chris Caveness ’83 and Andy Jowdy ’82 stayed in touch after graduation. In 2014 the two fraternity brothers, with the re-establishment of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity on campus, decided they wanted to create something exceptional for their fraternity and the student learning experience at Roanoke College.

“President Maxey approached me about establishing a scholarship,” Caveness recalls. “I’d contributed to Roanoke in the past and after talking with him about a scholarship and other interests I had for the Business Administration curriculum, I decided I wanted to do something more.”

 At the same time, Jowdy had an idea to support Roanoke students by creating an ethics-based speakers series. Caveness reached out to Jowdy to discuss creating something unique for Roanoke College. The Pi Lambda Phi Speaker Series and Scholarship Fund began to take shape.

“I don’t think young people have a lot of good, positive role models,” Jowdy says. “The goal was to create opportunities to expose kids to conversations about right and wrong in the context of real-life experiences.”

Back on campus, David Robertson ’89, director of the College’s Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation, was focusing the center’s efforts on entrepreneurship so that business students could “learn from someone else’s journey.”

Caveness and Robertson were old friends and hadn’t seen each other since graduating from Roanoke. The two reconnected and, recognizing that the goals of CLEI were in sync with the objectives Caveness and Jowdy had for the new fraternity fund, entered into a partnership.

Working collectively, the three decided that Pi Lam Fund and CLEI would also be the best way to meet their individual goals for giving back to the school in monetary and academic-enhancing ways.

Pi Lam brothers Rob Lyon ’85, Brian McElwee ’84, Peter O’Neill ’85, Robin Peirce ’85 and Bobby Ziogas ’82 joined the cause, and the group created the Pi Lambda Phi Fund to award two scholarships and invite a speaker to campus every year.

“We brothers came together in a significant way so the fund can sustain itself for at least the next 10 years,” Caveness says. “It’s a way for all of us to give back to the College to celebrate the successes we’ve had. It also gives Pi Lambda Phi members a chance to play an active role in the creation of the annual speaking event, the scholarship process and general business management.”

Jowdy says having a fraternity involved in helping manage a fund is unique. “These young guys get to participate in the process,” he says. “Our mission is to provide an environment that fosters the kind of brotherhood that we had.”

If the Sept. 15 inaugural event was any indication, the brothers are on to something.

An estimated 250 people filled the Wortmann Ballroom at the Colket Center to hear Abby Reiner and Deven Schei share their experiences with the Wounded Warrior Project, a national military and veterans’ charity that was founded in Roanoke in 2003. Reiner is Wounded Warrior’s brand director. Schei, a combat veteran who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan, is now a Wounded Warrior spokesman. He is the younger brother of a veteran who was severely injured while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The crowd also celebrated the Pi Lambda Phi Fund’s first two scholarship awards, presented to Mikaela Cook ’17 and Preston Gould ­­’19.

“The involvement of the current Pi Lambda Phi students has been the happiest surprise,” Jowdy says. “They deserve the credit for the event. They put forth the effort and fulfilled the roles we asked them to play. It’s all about trying to help people.”


—Nan Johnson

Endowing the Future of Roanoke

December 22, 2015

In planning for the future of Roanoke College, we’ve taken a hard look at what we do well—what separates Roanoke from other liberal arts colleges around the country. It comes down to this: With our strong mentoring culture, our faculty who love to teach, the wealth of opportunities we offer for first-hand learning, and a highly engaged alumni network, most students who come here find a passion, dig deeply into it, and are ready to go out into the world and live their passion when they graduate.

Looking forward, we want to strengthen this claim. That will mean investing in faculty to expand the breadth of what we teach and the quality of our teaching. It will require new equipment and new facilities, new software and new programs. It will mean increasing opportunities for first-hand learning through student research, internships, service work, study away and creative projects.

All of these investments must be made while working to keep a Roanoke education affordable for students each year, regardless of their financial means. Our diverse student body has grown up in small towns and big cities; they’re children of executives and first-generation immigrants. This mix is key to the Roanoke experience. Living, learning and working with different people opens minds, broadens perspectives, teaches empathy—qualities the world needs in its leaders.

Delivering on the promise to help all Roanoke students find, build and live their passion—today, and for generations to come—requires that the Roanoke endowment grow significantly. We deliver an education today equal to that found in the top liberal arts colleges in America. To compete successfully with them for the best faculty and students, we must have the resources to support our effort.

What is an endowment, and how does it work?

 A college endowment is made up of funds donated to provide support for the school’s mission in perpetuity. Like most colleges, Roanoke’s endowment consists of a number of separately managed funds, many with purposes specified by the donors—such as scholarships or endowed chairs—and others with unrestricted purpose, which allow the College the flexibility to address needs as they arise.

With an eye to the future, these endowments are carefully invested, with a portion of each year’s return reinvested to assure spending parity, regardless of inflation. With a conservatively managed portfolio, the typical spendable return each year is about 5 percent.

To combat the normal ups and downs of the stock market, our investment managers work with a rolling three-year average return. When the market is up, funds beyond the average are set aside for use when returns are below average. In severe downturns, spending may be curtailed to protect the principal.

How large is our endowment, and how does it compare to our peers?

Roanoke’s current invested endowment would rank about 130 among private liberal arts colleges. However, a Roanoke education, in terms of class size, quality of teaching, innovative programming and real-world learning experiences, is better compared to schools with rankings in the top 100 schools that have endowments double and triple ours. To provide quality education on par with these schools and compete for top-notch students, we need to add at least $100 million to our current endowment.

What have others endowed, and how have they benefited Maroons?

Over the years, thousands of alumni, parents, friends and foundations have contributed to our endowment. Restricted endowments have included funding for many important facets of the College’s operations, such as scholarships, programs, faculty development and experiential learning opportunities.

Examples include The Harry J. Breithaupt endowment, which has provided annual awards for Roanoke students who’ve demonstrated excellence in English, history and political science since 2000; The Henry H. Fowler Public Lecture Series, set up in 1983 through an endowment fund in honor of former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry H Fowler ’29; and The Virgil L. Frantz and Wanda Frantz Elliot Endowment, which provides support for faculty and students.

How does an endowment benefit donors?

 An endowment is more than an important contribution to the College today, it’s a legacy you create that will give for generations to come. If you choose to create a restricted endowment, you can fund aspects of the College’s work in which you strongly believe.  Many who set up endowments are recognizing a transformative experience they had at Roanoke, assuring others will have the same experience in the future.


If you are interested in supporting our general endowment fund, or setting up your own restricted fund, please contact Vice President of Resource Development Connie Carmack at (540) 375-2231.





Roanoke College building named for late alumnus, revered government leader

October 23, 2015

Ayres-Building-Dedication-6Roanoke College’s Resource Development building at 19 College Ave., has a new name that honors the late Douglas W. Ayres ’53, a revered government leader, author and professor. The building was dedicated as Ayres Hall on Thursday.

“Douglas Ayres was a gift to all of us,” Roanoke College President Mike Maxey said. “He had great humor, great affection for Roanoke College … and an adventuresome spirit. He impacted other cities and governments both nationally and internationally.”

Ayres, of Sedona, Ariz., was author of seven books, mostly about city government and administration. One of his books wasn’t quite as serious and reflected Ayres love of telling jokes—”The Local Government Joke Box.”

Ayres served as assistant town manager of the City of Salem early in his career. In fact, he worked in Ayres Hall, then a Salem Municipal Building housing the fire department, police, rescue squad and city management.

Ayres went on to a distinguished career in city administration. He was a city manager in Melbourne, Fla., Salem, Ore., and Inglewood, Calif. He was a consultant to hundreds of city governments, assisted in drawing up the constitutions for Alaska and Hawaii upon their transition into statehood and wrote major portions of nine city charters, including several cities in Venezuela. His distinguished 50-year career also included financial consulting and professorships at California State University, Long Beach, the University of Southern California, Irvine, and the University of Southern California.

While at Roanoke College, Ayres served as associate editor of the Brackety-Ack, was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and lettered in track. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College in recognition of his public service.

“He had a great affection for this place and its ability to transform,” Maxey said.



Student Giving Council recognizes Heritage Walk supporters

October 22, 2015


PaversCeremony-11In October, members of Roanoke’s Student Giving Council were given a unique opportunity to recognize some of the College’s most generous contributors.  Their hands-on experience in the importance of financial support, students worked with the College’s Buildings and Grounds staff to place new brick pavers along Heritage Walk, the historic path in front of the Administration Building.


Heritage Walk pavers are inscribed with the names of those who have given at least $5,000 to the Roanoke Fund. The Founders Circle, at the crest of the walk, recognizes those who give at least $10,000 to the Roanoke Fund.


PaversCeremony-17The ceremony celebrated the alumni, parents, and friends who help sustain the College’s daily operations.  As the donors’ names were announced, the students planted each paver.  Students were informed that giving is a continuum passed from one generation to the next.  As the leaders of current student and future alumni giving, the Student Giving Council was also recognized for its commitment to Roanoke and its importance in the College’s success today and tomorrow.  The Student Giving Council is the first group of Roanoke College students to help place pavers in Heritage Walk.


The brick pavers are permanent symbols of an investment in Roanoke College and of a commitment to a high quality liberal arts education. Brick pavers began being placed in Heritage Walk and Founders Circle in the early 1990s.


Paver Ceremony


New giving societies provide greater recognition

September 10, 2015

One of President Michael Maxey’s favorite Roanoke College stories is about David Bittle, the College’s founder and first president. At one point during a particularly hard and scarce time, Maxey says, Bittle drove cattle to campus to feed students and faculty.

“It’s a wonderful story and example of the kinds of sacrifices that people have made of their time, their energy and their resources to help this College move forward,” Maxey says.

That culture of giving, he says, has put the College in an enviable position, one poised to advance in ways that those who came before never could have imagined.

Today, that culture of giving remains steadfast as the College seeks to rise to even greater heights as one of the country’s top liberal arts colleges. That effort has been supported by generations of loyal contributors and now through a fundraising campaign that was publicly launched in 2013.

Roanoke Rising: The Campaign for Roanoke College is a transformational moment in the College’s history to fulfill the priorities established in the College’s strategic plan. Recently, as part of this transformation, two new giving societies were created to recognize the generosity of today’s contributors: the Cornerstone Society and the Presidents Society. The Cornerstone Society recognizes loyal support, regardless of gift size, to the Roanoke Fund. The Presidents Society recognizes cumulative giving of $100,000 or more.

“Our development efforts have grown exponentially over the last few years,” says Connie Carmack, vice president for resource development. “The establishment of two new giving societies, and a redesign of our existing societies, gives us an opportunity to show our gratitude to more donors for their thoughtfulness and generosity.”

Every donor is helping to shape the future of not only the institution, but of each student that comes through the College, says Carmack.

“Every single gift to the College makes a difference and we want to make sure that every donor receives our appreciation and thanks.”


For all the details on the new donor societies, visit the Giving Societies page and the Presidents Society page.


By Nan Johnson



Video tour of Cregger Center construction

September 8, 2015

Cregger-Construction-0815-13Check out this quick tour from inside the amazing new Cregger Center, which features a performance gymnasium, fitness center, classrooms, faculty offices, locker rooms and a full size indoor track. Go Maroons!

Alumna focuses giving on Lutheran support

June 10, 2015

Joyce KippsEducation is so important to Joyce Kipps ’50 that she has devoted her life and many of her resources to its purpose.

Kipps, who studied education and psychology at Roanoke College, taught special education and math as part of a career that spanned 40 years. She worked as a teacher in Madison County, Va., the county in which she was raised.

Kipps, who also earned a master’s degree in special education at the University of Virginia, now is retired and lives on her family’s farm in Madison County.

Thirteen years ago, she decided that she wanted to help students afford the same Roanoke education that gave her success and fulfillment in life.

In 2002, Kipps established the Joyce Kipps ’50 Endowed Student Scholarship. It provides financial assistance to students who are members of Mt. Nebo Lutheran Church in Rochelle, Va., students who are from Madison County, or students who are members of a Lutheran church that is a part of the Virginia Synod, a council comprised of 153 Lutheran congregations.

Five years later, in 2007, Kipps created the Joyce R. Kipps ’50 International Student – Endowed Student Scholarship. Those who are eligible for it include international Lutheran students who plan to return to their home country and apply their Roanoke education to better their community and country. Students from Madison County who are members of a Lutheran church of the Virginia Synod also can receive this scholarship.

“I like to help people, help the school…and give other people the opportunity to have some of the experiences that I had,” Kipps said.

Kipps, a member of the College’s Associate program and of the Society of 1842, has contributed to Roanoke in other ways. She gave the lead gift for the naming of the Luther Plaza that will serve as the entrance to the new Cregger Center. Lutherans from around the state have followed her lead in raising almost $400,000 to name the plaza.

In 2010, Kipps received the Roanoke College Medal, which recognizes outstanding alumni who represent the ideals of responsible leadership, intellectual integrity and good citizenship through their professional accomplishments, and through service to their community and alma mater.

Kipps and her fellow Class of 1950 Roanoke classmates established the Dawson-Bartlett Memorial Scholarship, which is named for two Roanoke professors, Dr. Charles Dawson and Dr. William Bartlett.

She also served as a volunteer advisor for Church Relations at Roanoke, and she has provided financial support to the College’s Church Relations Outreach program.

In addition to Roanoke, Kipps has given her time and resources to the Lutheran Church. She was president of the Virginia Synodical Women’s Organization for four years, and she is an active member of Mt. Nebo Lutheran Church.

Gifts from alumni and friends fund four new construction projects this summer

June 8, 2015

ColketConstruction.860wThe Cregger Center is Roanoke’s biggest construction project and it’s moving along nicely but it’s not Roanoke’s only project this summer. Four improvement projects, funded by donors, will get underway over the summer months.

Colket Center Patio: A large brick patio is being added to the front of the Colket Center. The patio will serve as an outdoor dining location accessible from the Sutton Commons. In addition to outdoor dining, the patio will be used for receptions and special events, as well as a stage for events on the Back Quad. The new patio is a gift from Nancy Mulheren ’72, a member of Roanoke’s Board of Trustees.


History Gallery in former Bank Building: Construction work is starting soon in the history department space on the first floor of the former Farmer’s National Bank Building (circa 1923), at the corner of College Ave. and Main St. The first floor will be opened up to allow for a public history gallery and lecture hall.  A new classroom and lab space for historic research will facilitate interaction among faculty and students. The accessible and versatile venue will allow for exhibits, displays, lectures, meetings and workshops that will enhance the college’s academic and aesthetic connection to the greater community as a vibrant “storefront” on Main Street.

Fundraising for additional phases to this project is ongoing, but the college has already received major gifts from the Marietta McNeill Morgan and Samuel Tate Morgan, Jr. Foundation and the Logan family: George and Joseph Logan and Anna Logan Lawson. The Logan family gift is in honor of their father, Joseph D. Logan Jr., class of 1919. Dr. George Herring ‘57 is helping to fund the classroom space.  The project is also supported by James and Sandra Ford, both from the Class of ’56 and Ray Byrd.

Streetscaping on College Ave.: College buildings along College Avenue are getting an upgrade to their facades. The resource development building, along with Fruitions and 9 North College, will  have cosmetic façade work done to beautify the buildings and bring a consistent and charming look that extends the campus connection to Main Street. The façade work is being funded through a generous gift from the JAM Anonymous Foundation.

Clay Street House: It’s an oft-heard question – what is that little building near Monterey on Clay St.? The one-and-a-half story frame house is one of the oldest – and one of the most historically significant – standing structures in Salem. The house is likely about as old as the College itself. It can be seen in Edward Beyer’s well-known landscape painting of Salem which dates from 1855.

“A house like this was usually torn down a hundred years ago,” notes Dr. Mark Miller, professor of history. “That it survived this long makes it an important asset.”

The College has completed basic stabilization of the house and removed asbestos siding, revealing the original board-and-batten walls underneath.  Fundraising for additional phases of this project is ongoing, but the college has already received major funding for the restoration from the Powell family of Salem and the Roller-Bottimore Foundation. For more on the Clay Street House, read the full article in the latest issue of the Roanoke College Magazine.



Paying homage

May 30, 2015

Al StumpAlvin Stump ’52, a former Roanoke College track and cross country athlete, wanted to honor the competitive sport he loved during his years at Roanoke. He also wanted to pay homage to a man who has continued the legacy of track and cross country Coach C. Homer Bast.

This year, Stump made a gift of $175,000 toward construction of the men’s track and field locker room in the new Cregger Center, scheduled to open in 2016. The locker room will bear Stump’s name and that of Finn Pincus, Roanoke’s head track and cross country coach for the past 21 years.

Stump ran cross country and track for the legendary Bast, who died in 2013. Stump describes Pincus as being in the “mold” of Bast.

“I have been very impressed with Finn and the job he does with the athletes and students,” Stump says. His gift to the Cregger Center represents his “love for the College and what it did for me.”

“I hope the athletes that go through there really enjoy the college as much as I did,” Stump says. “I think it’s one of the greatest four years I’ve ever spent in my life. I loved the school, the small classes and attention that you got from your professors.”

Stump, of Lynchburg, is a member of the Roanoke College Maroon Club, the College’s athletic fundraising arm, and a member of the College’s Associates program. He has supported other Roanoke track projects, including a building that stores track equipment and the resurfacing of the track.


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