Brooks M. Whitehurst's successful research helps financial gifts
Enduring the hardships of wind, rain, and snow while maintaining its green needles, the stalwart pine symbolizes steadfast friendship. That Brooks M. Whitehurst counts among his achievements the nurturing of these trees is no surprise. Whitehurst, a Wytheville, VA, native now residing in New Bern, NC, is a Friend of Roanoke College, one who supports the school and its programs even though he is not an alumnus.
A professional engineer, Whitehurst earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech in 1951. His experience ranges from chemical process design to venture analysis to environmental control. Among his many distinctions, he holds twenty-five process and product patents, is credited in four different Who's Who, and in 2001 was named one of the top 2000 scientists and engineers of the 20th century. Most recently he has been instrumental in creating a new forest fertilization technology licensed to the Weyerhauser Company. Due to this development, first applied on the North Carolina pines and now used throughout the US and being evaluated for international distribution, "at a time in life when most retired people's incomes are decreasing, mine has increased," he said.
A Founders level Associate for the past three years, Whitehurst's acquaintance with Roanoke College began eight years ago when his granddaughter, Rebecca Whitehurst, joined the Children's Choir. "Like dutiful grandparents, my wife and I came to Miss Becky's concert," beamed Whitehurst. Much impressed by the choir and its director, Kim Davidson, he responded with contribution upon learning that the program needed financial assistance. With his continuing support the choir has been able to offer more than 50 scholarships to supplement music and equipment purchases and to travel to choral festivals such as the March 2008 regional meeting of the American Choral Directors Association in Louisville, KY. The Roanoke College Children's Choir is one of only two from the eleven-state region selected to perform at this biennial event.
The financial gifts from Mr. Whitehurst enable us to enhance our program immensely," Davidson said. "He sets an example for others as to the difference an individual can make in the success of a program. His support of the choir energizes me and several other volunteers to continue to do our best." To recognize his generosity, next year's choir tee-shirt will display a pine tree. His experience in all phases of product development and marketing has made him an asset to Roanoke College's Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation. For the past two years he has provided financial support for and guest lectured to the sixteen students from Roanoke College and other top academic institutions involved in the competitive eight-week summer program that culminates in the development of a comprehensive business plan for a new product innovation. Hurst" in Old English means a group of trees. How much better the world would be were it populated by more groups of pine trees, singing children, innovative business leaders, and friends like Brooks Whitehurst.