Photo above: James Curtis Hughes, donor Representative and family member and Emory & Henry President Jake Schrum shake hands after signing the Kathryn Burke Greever endowment agreement.
By Scott Robertson
One never knows how long one’s impact on others will last. The inspiration for gifts of more than $1 million to Emory & Henry College, for instance, began over 100 years ago, said James Curtis “Curt” Hughes, nephew of Dr. Kathryn Burke Greever whose philanthropy recently made possible two endowed funds at Emory & Henry College.
Greever, a 1951 Emory & Henry graduate and associate professor emerita at West Virginia University, comes from a family that believes in “experiential learning” as evidenced by the establishment of The Dr. Kathryn Burke Greever Chair in Business and The Elbert and Mae Comer Burke Family Endowed Scholarship.
“Grandfather believed that to succeed in life you have to do things your way and learn from your experience, ” said Hughes, who spoke at a signing ceremony at the College on April 24. “Grandfather led by example.” Hughes’ wife, Lyle Hughes, and their daughter, Allyson Virden, also represented the family during the ceremony.
Endowed with an initial $1 million, the fund for The Dr. Kathryn Burke Greever Chair in Business will generate proceeds that will help underwrite the faculty chair holder’s salary and provide funds for that professor to undertake outstanding research as well as pursue initiatives to strengthen the College’s business program.
The Elbert and Mae Comer Burke Family Endowed Scholarship, with an initial gift of $148,000, memorializes Greever’s parents who were residents of Southwest Virginia. Proceeds from the fund will be awarded to financially needy students, with first preference given to female students from Russell, Washington and Smyth counties in Virginia.
Greever was born in Beckley, West Virginia and grew up in Southwest Virginia. Following her graduation from Virginia Intermont Preparatory School in Bristol, Va., Greever completed a B.A. at Emory & Henry in just three years, majoring in economics, education and psychology. Currently residing in Morgantown, W. Va., Greever earned an Ed.D. from West Virginia University and served at the University as a professor in the College of Education and Human Services until her retirement in 1997, when she was named associate professor emerita.
College launches campaign
Just after announcing those endowments, the college announced the public phase of an $80 million fundraising campaign, an initiative designed to strengthen the student experience at the 180-year-old institution. The college says the campaign, dubbed Ascend, will fund scholarships, enhance facilities, embrace technology, enable faculty and enrich the student experience.
Since 2014, the campaign has raised $60 million to date during the “silent” phase. As it moves into the public phase, progress in several areas is evident, most significantly with the growth of the School of Health Sciences at the E&H Marion Campus and the development of Ampersand, an innovative, experiential approach to learning.
Funding will also be provided for scholarships, faculty support, athletic facilities renewal/expansion, Kelly Library renovation, new fitness facility, Civic Innovation Institute, Center for Global Studies and more.
Gary Reedy, Emory & Henry alumnus and CEO of the American Cancer Society and Bill Pendleton, managing member of PEN Investments chair the Ascend Campaign.