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.


Family Affair

December 22, 2014

At Roanoke, parents are invaluable members of the College family.

After a serious biking accident sent Ryan Glascott ’16 to a local emergency room last October, his parents Jim and Deirdre Glascott rushed from their home in Bedford, N.Y., to be with him. When they arrived several hours later, they were surprised and heartened to find his fraternity brothers at the hospital, rallying to support their friend. And they were even more encouraged when Roanoke College President Michael Maxey dropped by the hospital to check on Ryan.

“It was just this incredibly warm and nurturing feeling we got when we arrived at the ER and found everybody to be just as concerned about Ryan as we were,” Deirdre Glascott says. “Roanoke is really a super special place.”

Jim Glascott adds: “We almost feel like we’re part of a family. It gives me comfort knowing that not only is my son getting a great education, but he’s in a place where people care about him.”

That positive experience is just one of many reasons the Glascotts enthusiastically support Roanoke College. As members of the Parent Leadership Council (PLC), the Glascotts feel they are able to bolster their son’s academic experience at Roanoke by offering feedback about Ryan’s college experience and by assisting with recruitment events in their hometown.

“If we didn’t believe in the school so much, we wouldn’t take the time to do these kinds of things,” Jim Glascott says.

Parent support and involvement is strong at Roanoke. The PLC — which engages parents through volunteer programs, communications and special events, and other leadership roles — includes the families of nearly 40 students and represents the geographic demographic of the student body and all class years. The group meets twice a year, where members are informed about the College’s activities, policies, programs, concerns and plans for future development. In return, these parents are a valuable sounding board for College officials, providing observations and suggestions about the College’s programs, plans and student life matters.

But serving on the PLC isn’t the only option for parent involvement at Roanoke. President Maxey shares updates about the College with all parents during presentations at Family Weekend and through other communications. Many parents have been instrumental in setting up internships for students or helping them find jobs after graduation. Others, like the Glascotts, are advocates for Roanoke, boosting admissions efforts by talking to the parents of prospective students about their own positive impressions of the College.

“Those are valuable ways every parent can contribute to Roanoke,” Maxey says. “In doing so, they help shape our admissions for the future. Parents also are in a unique position to compare us to other institutions — to share ideas from other places. That’s a valuable service parents can provide. They can give reactions to things we do to help us make the College better and stronger.”

A Family Feel

Lynn Dale and Frank Wisneski, co-chairs of the College's Parent Leadership Council, are the parents of Sarah Elizabeth Dale '15. Photo by Natalee Waters

Lynn Dale and Frank Wisneski, co-chairs of the College’s Parent Leadership Council, are the parents of Sarah Elizabeth Dale ’15. Photo by Natalee Waters

When Frank Wisneski and Lynn Dale, of Boston, brought their daughter Sarah Elizabeth Dale ’15 to Roanoke, they were impressed with the level of connection their entire family felt with Roanoke. They believed that Sarah, now a senior, would thrive in the close-knit environment. As co-chairs of the PLC, the couple have been pleasantly surprised to see how invested President Maxey is in the lives of the students and in every aspect of the College.

“Sarah talks about chatting with President Maxey at the gym, when they’re running on treadmills next to each other,” Dale says. “He’s very present on the campus, and he and Mrs. Maxey really want to know the students personally. That’s been important for us.”

The couple, who have hosted receptions for accepted students and their parents in their home, feel it’s important to give back to the campus community that has so enriched their daughter’s life.

“Anytime you can do that, whether through monetary gifts or by providing other services, you are helping to shape and enhance the value of the educational experience at Roanoke,” Dale says. “We also feel like we have the opportunity to set an example for our daughter of what it means to be a contributor and not a taker. It’s a way to show that we care about her and that her College matters to us.”

Wisneski adds: “It’s also a way we can help protect the financial investment we’re making into her college education. Parents can help make sure that the Roanoke College their kids leave is a better place.”

PLC members also take on an active role in helping the College reach its annual fund-raising goal through leadership gifts and by encouraging other parents to give to the Roanoke Fund. Over the years, PLC members have established various challenge gifts to foster a culture of philanthropy among all parents, as well as current students.

“This chain of giving makes the College experience better for everyone,” Maxey says.. “No one has ever paid the total cost to attend Roanoke. So when parents give back, it’s a nice way to express appreciation for others who gave in years past to make their child’s experience positive.”

Patton and Mimi Coles, parents of Quint Coles ’14 and Jimmy Coles ’18, are Roanoke Valley co-chairs of the $200 million Roanoke Rising campaign. They believe parents have an important role to play in strengthening the College for the future.

“We’ve been very involved with our children’s education from the time they were in elementary school,” Mimi Coles says. ‘We’ve enjoyed it, and have found it rewarding on lots of levels to help make our children’s schools the best places they can be and a good experience for everyone. When your child is happy and content, you’re happy and content as a parent.”

Hopes for Roanoke’s Future

Pat Leardo, a member of the Roanoke College Board of Trustees and the father of Patrick Leardo ’06, appreciates the openness and warmth of Roanoke’s staff and faculty. He finds their willingness to answer questions clearly and honestly a stark contrast to the larger institutions his other children have attended, where he has experienced frustration when trying to resolve problems or address concerns.

Pat Leardo, who makes an effort to cultivate good working relationships with all of the College’s top administrators, hopes to see Roanoke continue its rise in the college rankings and to achieve a national reputation among small, liberal arts colleges. He considers Roanoke one of the “best kept secrets” in the country and hopes that greater parent involvement can help Roanoke become more widely known, helping the College continue to carry out its mission.

“If more parents became involved at Roanoke, they would have a much greater understanding of the students’ and the College’s needs,” says Leardo, chair of the board’s Finance Committee. “They’ll feel more connected and will really be blessed by the emphasis on close, personal relationships that is embedded in the culture of the College.”


— Karen Doss Bowman


This is article is from the Roanoke Magazine, issue two, 2014.

Giving with Purpose

November 20, 2014

DougAndPeggyHorn270 copyPeggy Fintel Horn ’78 understands first-hand the value of a close-knit campus, where professors not only teach, but also guide students through the process of discovering their talents and passions. She had that kind of experience at Roanoke.

Peggy was a biology major at St. Olaf College when her father, Dr. Norman Fintel, became Roanoke College’s eighth president in 1975. When Peggy spent the summer on Roanoke’s campus with her parents — Dr. Fintel and wife, Jo — she took an economics course taught by Professor Ed Siefried. By the time she completed the course, Peggy had decided to transfer to Roanoke to pursue a major in business and economics.

“I was bitten by the bug — I loved economics,” says Peggy, a managing partner with Morneau Shepell SBC Ltd., a leading provider of technology and outsourcing services for employee benefit plans. “A light bulb went off for me, and that course really gave me direction. Economics combined my love of words with the analytical and numerical abilities that always were easy for me. That course changed my life.”

Horn and her husband, Doug Horn ’78, met at the College and share a deep affection for its role in their lives. They are now volunteers for Roanoke Rising: The Campaign for Roanoke College, serving as regional co-chairs in Atlanta.

“Roanoke is such a warm place, and we believe it’s important to help the College move forward with its mission to continue providing a great educational experience for young people,” says Peggy, who joined the College’s Board of Trustees in 2009. “A campaign is a long process, and it takes a lot of people to make something like that successful. We’re just happy to be a part of it.”

The Horns already have supported a number of campus projects, including the Pirro Patio that will adjoin the new Cregger Center and overlook Kerr Stadium. The patio will be named in memory of former Roanoke head lacrosse coach John Pirro, ’77, who died in 2013 after a long battle with Huntington’s disease. Pirro and Doug, both from Huntington, N.Y., were lacrosse teammates in high school and at Roanoke and remained close friends.

“John was the cornerstone of Roanoke lacrosse,” says Doug, who played on the College’s 1978 national championship lacrosse team. “He’s the person who encouraged me to go to Roanoke, and I’m grateful for that.”

Peggy is honored to share in her father’s impressive legacy at Roanoke. During his presidency, enrollment increased while academic standards improved; financial aid was expanded to include merit-based awards; and the Honors Program was established. Dr. Fintel also helped boost the College’s endowment and oversaw numerous building, expansion and campus beautification projects.

The Horns maintain close ties to the Roanoke Valley, where they still own a house and where Peggy’s parents live. They have three adult children; the youngest, Robert, is a member of Roanoke’s class of 2015.

“We’ve got such a history with and an affection for Roanoke,” says Doug, who serves as president of the SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference. “We have such great memories of the College, and we continue to have really close bonds with our friends 35 years later. We feel that the College does a great job in providing a quality education, and we’re happy to help it continue that excellence.”


—Karen Doss Bowman

This is article is from the Roanoke Magazine, issue two, 2014.

Byron Pitts inspires at 2014 Associates Evening

November 2, 2014

Byron Pitts 270 copy

As guest speaker at the 46th Annual Associates Evening Oct. 24, Emmy award-winning journalist Byron Pitts delivered a strong and personally candid message about the importance of giving back. He shared one example after another of the life-changing, transformative power of people “stepping out” for those who simply need a helping hand.

Pitts was a college freshman at Ohio Wesleyan University, failing his freshman English class. He was at the point of withdrawing from the university when an English professor – a first-year faculty member – offered to help him.

“She stepped out on nothing and saved my life,” said Pitts. “She had no reason to talk to me, but she did.”

His class grade improved. He stayed at Ohio Wesleyan, graduating in 1982 with a degree in journalism and speech communication. He set his sights on becoming a journalist, with a goal of joining the staff of “60 Minutes.” He rose through the ranks of broadcast news, building from small local markets to larger ones, then eventually becoming chief national correspondent for “The CBS Evening News” and a contributor to “60 Minutes.” Currently, he works as anchor and chief national correspondent at ABC.

Pitts has repaid that English professor’s favor many times over in his adult life. He shared the story of meeting an 11-year-old girl, Pilar, during a visit to a charter school in Baltimore, his hometown. After speaking to a group of students, including Pilar, she approached him and asked: “Mr. Pitts, where do you go, where do you hide, when the world hurts too much?”

It was learned that Pilar’s mother had abandoned her. Pilar was placed in foster care and later sexually abused by an older boy in the foster home. Working with authorities, Pitts was able to help Pilar get out of that situation. Now, she is a high school junior who has never earned less than an A- in her classes.

Where does she go now when she wants to retreat from the world, Pitts has asked her? “Her mind, her imagination, ‘where no one can touch me’,” he said she told him.

What Pilar deserves “is an opportunity,” Pitts said to Associates guests. “And when that person in your space asks you that question, tell them ‘Come to me.’”


—Leslie Taylor


This is article is from the Roanoke Magazine, issue two, 2014.

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