Why Alumnae Support Meredith College
Alumna Gives Time, Giftsto Alma Mater as She Supports The Campaign for Meredith
After Jean B. Cooper, ’54, a Johnston County, N.C., native, graduated from high school, she came to Raleigh to further her education at Meredith College. The youngest of five children, she was the recipient of the Jane S. McKimmon loan fund, which helped make a college education more affordable to her.
As a Meredith student, she was an organ major and a religion minor. “It was a pretty rigorous schedule,” she explained.
“That has been my core for all my life since then.”
Jean Cooper cites one particular professor for influencing her most.
“Dr. [Roger] Crook was a real jewel,” she said. “He taught me Christian ethics….Those kept me realizing what really matters.”
Meanwhile, Bob Cooper left his family farm in Elizabeth City, N.C., for North Carolina State University. He was the first in his family to attend college, an advantage initially encouraged by an Esso award and an on-campus job.
The pair met while riding the same bus to the church they both attended, Tabernacle Baptist. They started dating sometime after he surprised
her by showing up at her graduationrecital. Two years later they married.
After spending a year in Europe while Bob Cooper served in the armed forces, the couple returned to Raleigh while he attended graduate school at N.C. State and then medical school at Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem (now part of Wake Forest University). He was one of the first Reynolds Scholars at Bowman Gray and attended school while Jean Cooper worked.
“The scholarship and my part-time work enabled us to study for six years debt free,” Jean Cooper said. “If you get that, you have to give something back along the way.”
Giving back is just what the Coopers have spent their adult lives doing. For starters, Jean Cooper has given much of her time to her alma mater. She has served as a regional representative to the Alumnae Board, been the Alumnae Association president, a member of the Board of Trustees, and has served on committees during two of Meredith’s fundraising campaigns. She was awarded the Alumnae Philanthropy Award in 2003, with seven other benefactors, for beginning the Alumnae Legacy Scholarship.
In addition, while a graduate student at Wake Forest University, Jean Cooper chose to write as her master’s thesis an oral history of Meredith College alumnae for her degree in liberal studies. She decided to undertake the project after hearing older Meredith alumnae talk about how much
they appreciated Meredith.“
I realized a lot of them were getting older and their stories were not getting written down,” Jean Cooper said.
Bob Cooper also gave back to his alma mater as a medical doctor in oncology and hematology. After being a student and during his tenure as a doctor at Bowman Gray, he also did special projects such as compiling a history of the American Cancer Society.
The Coopers have also been generous with their financial resources. At Meredith, they have established the Jean B. Cooper Music Scholarship and contributed to The Campaign for Meredith by establishing an Alumnae Legacy Scholarship through a charitable gift annuity. For the Coopers, it’s simply the right thing to do.
“We were given much to get our education,” Jean Cooper said. “Because I have been given much
I have much to give…I think both of us feel very fortunate.”
"We choose to support Meredith because we are committed to its mission to educate women in a liberal arts context."- Allen and Barbara Page
Meredith College is a family tradition for Allen and Barbara Page. Barbara is a 1954 alumna.Allen joined Meredith's faculty in 1973, and he comes from a family with long ties to the College – his mother, sister, and multiple aunts and cousins are all Meredith alumnae.
The Pages have established a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT), which will provide them with an income for life,a charitable income tax deduction and preferential capital gains tax treatment. When the trust ends,the balance will support an endowment in the religion department that they are initiating.
Allen Page encourages other donors to "identify an area of Meredith for which you have a passion and either join others in support of that area or initiate an endowment of your own to support that program."
"I believe... many people working together make a profound difference."
L ike many college graduates, Kathryn Midyette Anderson,'76, left Meredith with student loans. Anderson faithfully wrote her student loan check each month and when she paid her loan off she decided she would just write that same monthly check to Meredith. Initially, Anderson wrote a check for the same amount each month. Eventually,she decided to increase her monthly payment by around five to ten dollars each year.
When asked why she supports Meredith financially, she replies "I give because I received financial aid when I was a student at Meredith. If alumnae continue to support the school we will leave a lasting legacy. So many deserving women will have the opportunity to excel at Meredith." Anderson says," Often times, people are intimidated by giving because they don't think they can make a large impact. But it is all the drops in the bucket that fill the bucket up and truly make a difference."
—Kathryn Midyette Anderson,'76
Why Virginia Gentry Parker '83 supports The Meredith Fund
"I believe…giving to The Meredith Fund is the best way to ensure other women will be able to share in the unique Meredith experience that is so special to all alumnae."
Virginia Gentry Parker '83 has been a presence on Meredith's campus in many capacities. Parker has served on the Board of Trustees and as the Alumnae Association President. She was also on the Presidential Search Committee that hired Maureen Hartford and was chair of President Hartford's Inauguration Committee. She currently serves on the Meredith Fund Advisory Board. Virginia is also an active leader in the North Carolina school system, particularly Wake County.
When Virginia was asked why she chose to give her support to The Meredith Fund she responded: "Why do I give my dollars to The Meredith Fund? Because when I think back to my college days, it was the everyday occurrences that these dollars support that made my educational experience at Meredith so extraordinary. The beautiful campus, the challenging professors, the diversity of student, and the warmth of the residence halls – all of these exist due in part to the Meredith Fund. Please join me in assuring that all future generations of Meredith students enjoy the same experience you and I did."
Through her roles in the Meredith community and her local community, Virginia has seen the importance alumnae support has in the life of the College. We hope that you too value your Meredith experience as much as Virginia does and are willing to give back to the school that gave you so much.