“I’m ready to take the field,” the anonymous donor told Courtney Hodges, Longwood’s vice president for institutional advancement, one morning last December. “But I need teammates.”

That was how the challenge was laid out: a fundraising blitz with a game-changing prize at its conclusion—a $5 million pledge for student scholarships. But there was a big catch. The gift was in the form of a challenge match. To receive it, Longwood would have to raise another $5 million for scholarships on its own—and do it by July 1.

Sure enough, Longwood alumni and friends stepped up, investing nearly $6 million to meet the challenge.

With the challenge match—announced shortly before this magazine went to press— nearly $11 million has been added to scholarship coffers. That’s an amount of student scholarships raised in six months that at previous rates of giving would have taken more than a decade.

“Our alumni and friends showed once again what makes Longwood such a special place,” Hodges said. “Everyone played a big part. In fact, alumni from every decade since the 1930s contributed—a symbolic achievement.”

The decade with the most donors was the 1960s, whose alumnae gave a total of $1.9 million to scholarships over the past six months.

Longwood has reached new heights in the last five years: Applications are at an all-time high, and the incoming freshman class will be among the most accomplished in university history. The next step is becoming more competitive with scholarship availability.

“We put together the most competitive scholarship packages we can, and the ability to be flexible and offer more money will only help as we build our next freshman class,” said Dean of Admissions Jason Faulk.

Even apart from the matching gift, 35 new scholarships were endowed during the challenge, including ones supporting the Cormier Honors College, study abroad, student-athletes, academic excellence and financial aid; and nearly that many were added to—increasing the annual award amount. 

'In fact, alumni from every decade since the 1930s contributed— a symbolic achievement.' 


In June, when Hodges called the donor to let her know Longwood had met the challenge, the donor offered congratulations—and permission to reveal her identity: philanthropist and longtime Longwood benefactor Joan Perry Brock ’64.

It was just a few days after Brock had delivered a riveting address at Longwood’s graduate commencement ceremony. “What you will find is that you will soon be unable to imagine life without being involved, without pitching in,” Brock told the graduates. It will become part of your cellular makeup. And when you get to my age, you’ll come to realize that success is measured not by the size of your bank account or the ZIP code you live in or the car you drive. The real yardstick is what you give of yourself, the help you provide, the love you spread.”

Former SGA President Kevin Napier recounts the effect scholarships had on his Longwood career in "To Get a College Degree–or Not?

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