Grim-Sparger Memorial Scholarship

by Billy Chandler

The Grim-Sparger Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Merritt Sparger, Emory & Henry Class of 1968
Ann Grim Sparger, Emory & Henry Class of 1968

Established in 2006 in memory of Ann’s mother, Virginia Bailey Grim, Emory & Henry Class of 1935.

 

Dr. Merritt Sparger, is a well-known dentist in the Roanoke Valley originally from Marion, Virginia. He is a loyal E&H sports fan and a devoted supporter of Emory & Henry. He and Ann have a daughter and son, and their daughter Jennifer Sparger Wheeling is a 1994 graduate of Emory & Henry.

Ann was an educator for many years and then began a fulltime volunteering career. She has been especially supportive of her home church, First United Methodist Church in Salem, Virginia. She has also been a leading volunteer for Emory & Henry, serving as president of the Alumni Association and as a member of the Board of Trustees. In 2002 she was named for the Distinctive Service to Emory & Henry Alumni Award in recognition of her leadership for Emory & Henry.

Both Spargers are known for enthusiastic support of and commitment to their alma mater – annually attending the college’s summer alumni college and being energetic sports fans, particularly during the ODAC basketball tournament in Salem. Ann’s work as president of the E&H Alumni Association took her “on the road,” and she was seen often at regional and on-campus fundraising events, alumni events all over the state, recruiting events in the Roanoke Valley, and even traveling with the E&H Concert Choir on tour to New York.

But one of their most loving means of support was when they established a scholarship to help students attending Emory & Henry. The fund is aimed at particularly supporting students from Southwest Virginia, and it honors the memory of Ann’s mother, E&H alumna Virginia Bailey Grim.

Mrs. Grim was a farm girl from Cedar Bluff, Virginia. Ann says, “She loved farm life so much that one time she tried to ride a cow, but only once!”

Virginia studied her Bible daily and taught an adult Sunday School class. She was known for her handiwork especially in embroidery. During Ann’s freshman year she monogrammed several of her friends’ dresses. She was a teacher who taught at the elementary and high school levels.

Ann describes her mother as an example of God’s love in this world. “Mother was a quiet reserved lady who projected an image of dignity and was blessed with a gift for friendship. Her life reflected our Lord’s command to look upon others and see them in His Light and with the insight of love.”

The scholarship now carries both of these names forward to a new generation – recalling two families with many years of committed servant leadership and dedicated support for Emory & Henry.

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