Leading by example

John Stafford '57, right, with George Kegley '49, at the Roanoke Rising campaign launch in April. Both men have been recognized as Roanoke College Medalists for their outstanding service to the College and their communities.

John Stafford '57, right, with George Kegley '49, at the Roanoke Rising campaign launch in April. Both men have been recognized as Roanoke College Medalists for their outstanding service to the College and their communities.

John Stafford '57 is a great believer in scholarship support.

This article was featured in the Roanoke Magazine, Issue 2, 2013. The full issue can be seen here.


The greatest hope that John Stafford '57 has for Roanoke College is that it remains a viable and affordable institution for all students. One way to ensure access to higher education, he says, particularly as costs continue to rise, is through scholarship support, and he's happy to serve as an example for others.

"The background I received at Roanoke College has given me a lot of help over the years, so it's been very important for me to be able to give back," says Stafford, who serves as Southwest Virginia/East Tennessee co-chair on the Roanoke Rising national Campaign Steering Committee.

Like many alumni, Stafford began giving back to Roanoke with what he calls "a nominal donation" through which he became a member of the Associates Program. Later, he and his wife, Shirley Lawhorn Stafford, were able to increase the amount and endow a scholarship in honor of their daughter, Jennifer, through their estate plans. As a result, the Staffords are members of the College's Society of 1842 and they continue to make scholarships a top priority in their philanthropic efforts.

John Stafford wanted to strengthen alumni outreach and involvement, and he was instrumental in establishing the Southwest Virginia/East Tennessee Alumni Chapter, of which he is now chair.

"There are some strong alumni in the area," Stafford said from his home in Jonesborough, Tenn. "We're trying to help make them more so."

The Roanoke Rising campaign, he says, is another way he can help make Roanoke better.

"It's a very worthy cause. The school has made some remarkable strides in the past and really done well. The leadership is great," Stafford says. "Roanoke Rising is an opportunity to give back and help the school in the scholarship area and by making the effort to help the school on an overall basis."

"The impact of a gift is far-reaching no matter what size," he adds. "The more we can encourage giving, the more advantageous for the school - and all of us."

- Nan Johnson