Donation launches unrestricted endowment campaign at Virginia Western Community College

By Alison Wickline - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - An integral part of the Virginia Western Community College campus has a new name -- the Maury and Sheila Strauss Family Student Life Center. Maury Strauss, a Roanoke business leader, donated $1 million to the VWCC Educational Foundation to support students and the region's economic development.

"Anything I can do to help the city, the community and the area, I'm happy to do," said Strauss. 

But the student center dedication was just one of the major developments of the day. That $1 million gift from the Strauss family officially launched the public phase of the foundation's unrestricted endowment campaign, an important source of revenue to support teaching, research and scholarships.

"It has a great impact on our endowment. An endowment is something that will continue to grow and the interest and all that comes from that will continue to go to scholarships and help our students move forward," said Dr. Robert Sandel, president of VWCC. 

The initiative is called the Virginia Western Forward Endowment Fund and the foundation's current goal is to raise $15 million. 

"We have a lot of students who want to go into the sciences and math and so forth and we need to be able to provide scholarships for them and certain equipment for them so they can do what they need to do," said Sandel. 

The endowment is unrestricted, meaning leaders have the freedom to better meet the needs of local students.

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