In a tumultuous time of unprecedented financial hardship for many, a new fund established by a gift from Kate and Trustee Gibson Vance aims to help students in need. This selfless assistance from the Vances is an exceptional example of the Trojan giving spirit. The Vance’s contributions promise to help TROY not only retain students but improve their quality of life while on campus.
The $100,000 gift will establish The Kate and Gibson Vance Student Emergency Fund that will benefit students on the Troy Campus who experience an unexpected financial burden and need assistance to remain enrolled in classes.
“There are students at TROY whose finances are limited, and when an emergency occurs, they don’t have the resources to handle it,” said Trustee Gibson Vance, a 1987 TROY alumnus who serves as President pro tempore of the University’s Board of Trustees. “I went to school on a Pell Grant, student loans and work study. If something went wrong, I didn’t have the extra money to pay for it. This fund will help students be able to weather those difficult situations.”
Becky Watson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Development, said the couple’s generosity would be of tremendous benefit to TROY students, as well as the University as a whole.
“We know that once a student drops out, the odds of them coming back to continue their education decrease dramatically,” Watson said. “This fund will provide students the opportunity to continue to pursue their degree without interruption so they are able to realize their goals. We are so grateful to Kate and Gibson Vance for their generosity and their continued support and loyalty to Troy University and its students.”
TROY will form a committee to establish criteria and review student applications. The funds will be administered by the Troy University Foundation. Students will go through an application process through which they will have to demonstrate a specific financial need in order to qualify for the grant.
“You never know when you may experience emergencies and unexpected expenses whether that be your car breaking down, a serious illness or having a family crisis that changes your financial situation,” Kate Vance said. “Gibson lived with his grandmother when he was at TROY, and didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on things. We want these students to be able to continue their education, even when unexpected emergencies arise that are beyond their control. We want to provide them with that extra support that is needed to keep the students in school and focused on their studies.”
Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr., said the most important thing Troy University does is serve its students, and the establishment of the Kate and Gibson Vance Student Emergency Fund will play an important role in the University’s student-centered mission.
“At Troy University, we are deeply committed to serving students, and Kate and Gibson Vance’s generous gift is the very embodiment of the culture of caring that exists here,” Dr. Hawkins said. “I am grateful for the leadership and support they provide to TROY and their continued commitment to our students.”
Another motivating factor in the establishment of the fund came from the couple’s son, Andrew, a current TROY student. “Andrew is earnestly engaged in the campus community,” Mrs. Vance said. “He has friends that are working to put themselves through school that wouldn’t have the extra money to handle an emergency should one occur. He has shared with us that there are real needs among students here, and the most meaningful help we can offer is this fund’s material assistance.”
Trustee Vance, an attorney with the Beasley Allen Law Firm and Vice President of the Alabama State Bar Association, said he feels fortunate to be able to help TROY students in this way.
“Serving my alma mater and giving back in a tangible way to help the students means everything to me,” Trustee Vance said. “We feel fortunate and thrilled to be able to establish this fund, and we look forward to helping as many students as we can in the coming years. It is a heartwarming way to pay our good fortune forward.”