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A Legacy of Service: $1.25 million gift honors Mamie Jolley Bruce ’44

Mamie Jolley Bruce

Mamie Jolley Bruce

A new $1.25 million grant will establish an endowment fund enabling the College to expand its Community Fellows program, Randolph President Bradley W. Bateman announced this week. The funding is the result of gifts from the Jolley Foundation, Jolley Bruce Christman ’69, and her brother, James McDuffie “Duff” Bruce, III.

The grant will establish the Mamie Jolley Bruce ’44 Community Fellows Scholarship Program, which will provide scholarships for students with financial need as well as funding for various aspects of the program.

“We are honored to receive this special grant from Jolley, her brother Duff, and the Jolley Foundation,” said Bradley W. Bateman, president of Randolph College. “Mamie was a dedicated alumna and philanthropist and spent her life quietly giving back to her community. She loved her college and was passionate about the power of education to help alleviate inequities. As a result, she spent her life working to provide underrepresented students access to education. We cannot think of a better way to honor her and her life of service.”

The Jolley Foundation was created in 1947 as a family foundation by Bruce’s parents. While its original purpose was to provide financial assistance to employees of the family’s broadcasting and wholesale beverage businesses in times of personal crisis, it later assumed a community focus with an emphasis on education, social justice, and bettering the lives of citizens in Greenville, South Carolina.

Bruce, who passed away in 2014, was a modest, quiet leader who grew up in the segregated Jim Crowe south and saw firsthand the inequities that occurred as a result of the times.

Bruce’s daughter, Jolley Bruce Christman ’69, who is a trustee of the Jolley Foundation, along with her brother, son, and a nephew, said Randolph’s Community Fellows program fit perfectly with her family’s efforts to continue her mother’s legacy.

“This program is about community service, but just as importantly, it is also focused on justice,” said Christman, a Randolph trustee emerita and former president of the Board of Trustees. “The fellows will be immersed in learning about the root causes of discrimination and poverty. They will carry that knowledge and their experience as fellows with them throughout their lives. Our hope is that as adults, they will continue their engagement in service and also be advocates for a more just and compassionate world.”

The expansion of the program would include scholarships for eight students (two per academic year), as well as a one-time summer internship stipend for each student to pursue an interest in community service and social justice. The funding would also provide for the Voices of Lynchburg Speaker Series, which brings community activists and leaders to campus to talk about their work in the community, and a nationally prominent speaker (the Mamie Jolley Bruce ’44 Memorial Lecturer) who would present on a topic involving community service and social justice.

“It is wonderful we could support a program we know our mother would appreciate,” said Duff Bruce. “This is probably the first thing we’ve done in the family that has a connection in terms of honoring the previous generation.”

The trustees are excited to see what Randolph does with the program, Christman said.

“We have all the confidence in the world in Randolph’s ability and commitment to delivering a really high quality program,” Christman added. “There’s just no question in our minds about that.”

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