Pfeiffer University gets $1 million bequest
Pfeiffer News Service
Pfeiffer University has received an unrestricted gift of more than $1 million from the estate of veteran banker William G. White, who died in December 2008 at 79.
White, who served nearly three decades as president of First Federal Savings Bank of Winston-Salem and continued working with the financial institution through mergers with Southern National Bank and BB&T, was a longtime advocate and Pfeiffer supporter despite earning his degree elsewhere.
“Bill’s values were very closely aligned with Pfeiffer’s mission of service learning and community engagement,” said Pfeiffer President Dr. Chuck Ambrose. “That’s why his legacy of helping people through education lifts the level of charitable support provided to this institution in so many unforgettable and invaluable ways.”
Because Pfeiffer, like many other small independent colleges, is tuition-driven, White’s donation is significant to the life of the university and short-term will serve as an important addition to Pfeiffer’s institutional reserve, according to Ambrose.
“This is such a transformational gift. It is a way for Pfeiffer to better manage through the economic storm and provides a sense of financial confidence that allows us to continue to improve our academic quality,” Ambrose explained. “Additionally, because of the expense associated with higher education, scholarships and financial resources have become essential elements in the quest to recruit and retain talented students. The generous gift given by the White estate ensures gifted students will have the benefit of the unique, servant leadership based education for which Pfeiffer has long been known. We are earnestly grateful for Bill White’s legacy to Pfeiffer through this charitable investment.”
White had been a longtime advocate and Pfeiffer supporter. Thad Woodard, president of the North Carolina Bankers Association, who is a 1968 Pfeiffer alumnus, introduced White to the university more than 20 years ago and helped him become an active part of the Pfeiffer family. Since 1997, he had provided funding for the Eastern European Annual Scholarship at Pfeiffer.
In 2007, White helped a German exchange student by committing financial resources to assist in the support of her education at Pfeiffer, a university she desperately wanted to attend. There are countless other similar stories that demonstrate White’s commitment to Pfeiffer and his community.
An avid Civil War historian, White was in the Navy and served in the Korean War. Through the Navy, his volunteer work and personal interests, he has traveled around the world several times, including more than 50 trips to Europe. Following his military service, he had a 40-year career in banking.
A philanthropist and civic servant, White invested a great deal of his energy and resources into the YMCA, having served as a trustee for the YMCA of Greater Winston-Salem, as well as on the national board of the YMCA for 10 years. The organization renamed its facility the William G. White Jr. Family YMCA in fall 2008 to honor his many years of service.
His involvement with the YMCA led him to travel to the former Soviet Union, where he was instrumental in establishing the YMCA in the Ukraine. As a result of his relationships there, he personally recruited many Ukrainian students for Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer honored the longtime banker and Pfafftown native with an honorary doctor of humanities degree during an August 2008 summer commencement ceremony.