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Josh Meyer

Virginia Western Strategic Fund to honor Dr. Steger

In response to an outpouring of individual requests, the Educational Foundation has established the Virginia Western Educational Foundation Strategic Fund in honor of Dr. Charles W. Steger, Jr. The fund pays tribute to Dr. Steger’s inspiring leadership while Chairman of the Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors, and his belief in the transformational power of education.

Virginia Western is proud of the faith Dr. Steger placed in the role of the community college to elevate, enrich and energize social mobility and economic development. We honor his memory, and pledge to fulfill his trust in our mission.

Donations will support visionary initiatives that advance the College and the students we serve.
From Dr. Steger’s message to Virginia Western students at the STEM Facility Groundbreaking Event July 2017:

“You are the leaders of tomorrow – in fact, I think you are the leaders of today. You don’t have to be president of a company or a head of an institution to show leadership where you stand right now. We need everyone to take responsibility for making this a more exciting place, a more successful place and a more equitable place, where opportunities and capabilities converge, and we can provide the types of jobs and employment situations that will enhance the quality of life for all of our citizens. It is critical to our society to do that. I encourage you all – lead from where you stand and the time to start leading is right now. We’re counting on you.”

To learn more and donate, visit https://connect.clickandpledge.com/w/Form/9760e859-eeb3-49b7-9d58-5442456ac3ab

Friendship Health & Living honored for support of Virginia Western

Friendship Health & Living was recently awarded the 13th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. Virginia Western Community College nominated Friendship for its continued support of the college and its students.

More than two dozen individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia have earned the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), the 13th annual event honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $6 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

An influential partner in education for nearly 20 years, Friendship Health & Living has worked hand in hand with Virginia Western Community College to build opportunity and construct sustainable pathways for regional student success. Friendship has clearly demonstrated its support and advocacy through its generous and ongoing programmatic, operational and in-kind donations to the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation.

Friendship Health & Living (then Friendship Retirement Community) has invested more than $300,000 in the futures of Virginia Western students, and the advancement of healthcare in the region. By providing prominent identity for the Friendship Retirement Community RN Nursing Lab and the Friendship Retirement Community RN Simulation Lab in the Horace G. and Ann H. Fralin Center for Science and Health professions, as well as the Friendship Retirement Community Registered Nursing Scholarship, Friendship maintains a strong leadership presence at Virginia Western.

The Friendship Foundation has also been a strong proponent of Virginia Western’s Community College Access Program (CCAP), and has backed its advocacy with a CCAP2 Campaign pledge of $20,000 in 2017.

“We are honored by Virginia Western Community College for this nomination as they continue educating the nurses and workforce of tomorrow,” said Joe Hoff, President and CEO for Friendship. “It will be these students that will continue to provide the world-class service and care for which Friendship is known.”

“Friendship’s leadership in making college possible for area students, particularly those in the health professions, serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished when impact and opportunity go hand in hand,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western.

Keynote speaker Paul Koonce, executive vice president & president and chief executive officer with the Power Generation Group, Dominion Energy, called the community college system “one of Virginia’s greatest inventions.” He also borrowed a passage from a 1903 Teddy Roosevelt speech to underscore the invaluable connection between higher education and opportunity.

“‘Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Our purpose (as donors) is to make sure that prize – meaningful work – the best prize that life offers, remains within reach of every Virginian.'”

Remembering Dr. Charles Steger

Virginia Western Community College lost a dear friend and inspiring leader on Sunday evening when Educational Foundation Board Chairman Charles William Steger Jr. died at age 70. Dr. Steger, the President Emeritus at Virginia Tech, served for three years leading the Educational Foundation Board of Directors. He will be remembered as a committed advocate for the community college’s mission and its goal of making college possible for any student in the Roanoke Region.

“I had the great pleasure to work alongside Charles for several years and was overwhelmed by his commitment to higher education,” said Virginia Western President Dr. Robert. H. Sandel. “He made an incredible impact leading Virginia Tech through its greatest period of growth. He also believed college was for everyone, no matter what financial or life burdens they may face. His dedication to the Virginia Western Educational Foundation reflects that. We have lost a great champion and a great friend.”

Dr. Steger’s vision for the Educational Foundation included the recent launch of its second major fundraising campaign to benefit the Community College Access Program (CCAP), a nationally recognized effort that provides up to three years of tuition to qualified Roanoke Valley High School graduates.

Neil Wilkin Jr., CEO of Roanoke’s Optical Cable Corp., served as Foundation Board Vice Chairman under Dr. Steger. “It’s no surprise that Charles showed great leadership on the Board, given his outstanding career at Virginia Tech,” Wilkin said. “But I think what needs to also be recognized is the genuine empathy he demonstrated for Virginia Western students. He was passionate about creating a better future for them in Roanoke.”

Amanda Mansfield, the Foundation’s Donor Relations Coordinator, said Dr. Steger understood the financial realities of Virginia Western’s students and committed his time to directly helping them. Earlier this spring, he backed a student-led effort to raise money for a student book and emergency fund.

“We were deeply honored that in his retirement Dr. Steger chose to help students who were very clearly dear to his heart, those who grew up in his native Southwest Virginia,” Mansfield said. “He was a kind and generous man, and will be greatly missed.”

Virginia Western and the Virginia Western Educational Foundation send their heart-felt condolences to Dr. Steger’s family and friends.