Virginia Western dedicates Maury and Sheila Strauss Family Student Life Center

ric_adminEducational Foundation, VWCC

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ROANOKE
Virginia Western Community College dedicated the Maury
and Sheila Strauss Family Student Life Center on Friday in recognition of the
philanthropic leadership of the Strauss Family. Maury Strauss, a Roanoke
business leader and founder of the Strauss Development Corp., donated $1
million to the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation to
support innovative initiatives to support students and the region’s economic
development.

“We
are honored to celebrate the dedicated student opportunity bolstered by the
vision of the Strauss’ philanthropy,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of
Virginia Western. “Their support will make a true difference in our students’
lives and will help drive a strong future not only for Virginia Western but for
our local community as well.”

The
$1 million gift from the Strauss Family launches the public phase of the
Virginia Western Educational Foundation’s unrestricted endowment campaign. The
initiative is called the Virginia Western Forward Endowment Fund, a vision of
Dr. Charles W. Steger Jr., in honor of the Foundation’s late Board of Directors
Chairman and President of Virginia Tech.

“Charles
believed fully in the role of the community college to change lives and to
serve as a catalyst for regional economic growth,” said Neil D. Wilkin Jr.,
Chairman of the Foundation Board of Directors and President & CEO of
Optical Cable Corporation. “This permanent endowment will enable Virginia
Western to do just that – to flexibly pioneer opportunities in academic
instruction and career training, financial aid in the form of scholarships,
equipment, workforce development and more.”

While
relatively rare nationally among community colleges, unrestricted endowments
are known for being impactful. The Foundation’s goal is to raise $15 million
and with the Strauss donation, it has identified gifts in excess of $4 million
already.

“The
Strauss Family’s $1 million naming gift drives our endowment plans forward,”
said W. Heywood Fralin, member of the Foundation Board of Directors and
Chairman of Medical Facilities of America. “I encourage those here and in our
communities to follow their example in paving the way to a brighter future by
engaging in their own philanthropy and by reaching out to others to help us
move Virginia Western Forward.”