Posted on: Thursday, April 28th, 2016
With a gift of $50,000.00, Ed (E&H ’53) and June Thomas established The Thomas Family Endowed Scholarship at Emory & Henry College in 2016.
The scholarship recognizes three Thomas brothers, all of whom graduated from Emory & Henry. Edward R. Thomas graduated from Emory & Henry in 1953, after only three years of school. He hitchhiked to campus, worked to pay for his tuition, and attended summer classes in order to finish as soon as possible and reduce expenses incurred. Ed worked 34 years with the 3M Company, retiring in 1991 as an account executive.
William J. Thomas earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Emory & Henry in 1952. He earned his M.D. from the University of Virginia College of Medicine in 1956. Bill served 16 years with the U.S. Navy, serving for two years on active duty and 14 years as a doctor for the Navajo Army Depot. He was in private practice in Flagstaff until he was named Medical Director for Coconino County in 1968.
Charles Franklin Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Emory & Henry in 1955, majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. While a student, he was a member of the Phi Pi Alpha social fraternity. He served in the U. S. Army as Army Intelligence-Photo Interpreter. He served one year in Japan and was discharged in August 1957. Frank retired from Strongwell Corporation (formerly Morrison Molded Fiber Glass). He spent his retirement in Bristol, Va.
Ed and June say they have been blessed in their lives, and they are grateful for the opportunity to give back. Sharing with others is a strong theme in their family, and they were proud that their grandchildren have begun to wave off personal presents in favor of seeing that money help others in need.
The couple has two sons, Bob and Bill and two grandsons, William and Jonathan. Ed is a member of the Lake Murray Association, serving on the Board for several years, the Lake Murray Power Squadron, serving as Chaplain for several years, the Blue Lodge 94, Scottish Rite (Columbia, S. C.) Omar Shrine Temple (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) and Salem United Methodist Church.
They traveled to Emory from their home in Irmo, S.C., in April of 2016 in order to participate in a signing ceremony to officially start the good work of the scholarship. Ed addressed the assembled participants at the College’s annual Benefactors Luncheon where the signing ceremony was held. He told everyone there what he tells his grandchildren: Each of us has two tigers inside of us – a good tiger, and a bad tiger – and the tiger we feed is the tiger that will grow. He, of course, promotes feeding the good tiger, and was very touched when one of his grandsons presented him with a handmade plaque that said, “Feed the Good Tiger – Advice from my Granddad.”
Ed worked to pay his own tuition at Emory & Henry -- hitchhiking to campus and taking summer classes in order to finish his degree in three years and save money. When discussions first began about establishing a scholarship fund at the College, he was shy about having his name attached to it: wishing only to ease the burden for a student so that he or she could more fully enjoy the college experience.
This new scholarship will benefit students with financial need.
Top -- Ed and June Thomas following the 2016 Benefactors Luncheon.
Below -- Ed addresses the assembled participants of the Benefactors Luncheon.
President Jake B. Schrum and Ed Thomas sign the official documentation for the Thomas Family Endowed Scholarship.