Paying It Forward, And Forward, And Forward

Sig Davidson, Class of 1943

Sandy Mulheren, Class of 2002

Cody Sexton, Class of 2011

Nearly 40 years and counting. That’s how many consecutive gifts to the Roanoke Fund Sig Davidson ’43 has made. He says, “I’ve tried to be as philanthropic as I can. When you’ve been successful and happy, you’ve got to share that with your community.”

“I had a wonderful education,” says Sig, who earned his degree a month before enlisting during World War II. He was deployed to Germany a year later. “As a country, we need to encourage people to get an education, and I want to be part of that.”

Despite the generations and life circumstances that separate them, Sig’s motivations for giving are remarkably similar to those of Sandy Mulheren ’02 and Cody Sexton ’11. Each man views his Roanoke Fund giving as an opportunity to pay back the College they love but also to pay it forward for the benefit of others.

“I found a home at Roanoke,” says Sandy. “The camaraderie I experienced there was incredible. And that continues. When I talk to faculty today, they still draw me into their excitement for their subjects. The professors are tremendous and have given Roanoke such momentum.”

Excited by that momentum and having seen his parents’ philanthropy in action, Sandy helped to establish Roanoke’s Young Associates Program—a young leadership giving program within the Roanoke Fund. The goal of the program is to involve graduates of the last decade in philanthropy and keep them connected to the College.

“I was taught to give back ten percent of whatever I make,” says Sandy. “But when you first graduate, you don’t always have a lot to give.” The Young Associates Program starts at $100, with giving levels increasing each year after graduation. During the first year of the program, Sandy gave a gift that doubled each new graduate’s initial gift.

One of the first Young Associates members was Cody Sexton. “Having been blessed with a full scholarship and no loans to pay back, the program was the perfect opportunity to be a part of something through giving.” Cody says he plans to be a Young Associate all ten years—giving him quite a jump on matching Sig’s record.

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