The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation presented the 2019 Community College Impact Award to Maury L. Strauss and the Strauss Family, in recognition of his $1 million naming gift in support of the Virginia Western Forward Endowment Fund: A Vision of Dr. Charles W. Steger Jr. The award was presented Wednesday at the Educational Foundation’s Annual Scholarship and Awards Ceremony.

One of the highest honors the College can bestow, the Community College Impact Award serves to recognize significant philanthropic and community support by individuals, corporations or organizations that will provide perpetuating benefits for Virginia Western, its students and the region at large.

Virginia Western Community College dedicated the Maury & Sheila Strauss Family Student Life Center in January 2019 in recognition of Strauss’ visionary leadership in support of student success and regional economic development.

“Maury is a very special human being,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “We are honored to celebrate this vision of the Strauss family’s philanthropy, which will make a true difference in our students’ lives, and will help drive a strong future for our community.”

Strauss, founder of Strauss Development Corp. and a longtime community benefactor, said he believes in giving back to the community that helped build his business and a home for his family. Virginia Western “holds a warm spot in his heart” for the power that higher education brings to the lives of its students. Sheila Strauss, a well-known supporter of the arts and nonprofit organizations in the Roanoke Valley, passed away in 2016.

The $1 million gift from the Strauss family launched the public phase of the Educational Foundation’s unrestricted endowment initiative, the Virginia Western Forward Endowment Fund, a vision of Dr. Charles W. Steger Jr., named in honor of the Foundation’s late Board of Directors Chairman and President of Virginia Tech.  This unrestricted endowment effort will flexibly empower and sustain the college to address, now and in perpetuity, educational excellence in a rapidly-changing economic environment.

For more information about the Foundation’s annual Community Impact Award or the Virginia Western Forward Endowment Fund, contact Philanthropy Director Amanda Mansfield at amansfield@virginiawestern.edu or (540) 857-6962.