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Children endow VGCC Scholarship in memory of Mother

The children of a remarkable Vance County woman are endowing a scholarship in her memory at Vance-Granville Community College. Ella Glover Rowell passed away in May 2008 at the age of 94. She worked as a dietitian at Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson for 33 years, and then, as her daughter Ruth R. Moore of Henderson said, “she was retired for longer than many people work.” Moore noted that her mother did her best work after retiring, by actively volunteering in the community. Rowell was once named Vance County’s Volunteer of the Year and was honored by the Governor of North Carolina for her volunteer efforts. One of her most unique contributions was taking into her home VGCC students who needed a place to live while they studied in a health field, such as nursing. Rowell’s children estimated that as many as 20 students stayed with her over a 20-year period. Some stayed for a few months, while one stayed even after graduating, for a total of nine years.

Students who have already completed one year of study in a VGCC Health Sciences program, such as Associate Degree Nursing or Radiography , will be eligible to receive the Ella Glover Rowell Presidential Merit Award scholarship. Rowell’s son, M. Tyrone Rowell of Wilmington, said he and his siblings thought it would be appropriate to remember her by helping students like the ones that she had supported. Rowell said that the VGCC students that lived with his mother became “like an extended family.” Education is also important to the family. Tyrone Rowell, a former vice chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, has worked in higher education for 42 years, while his wife, Pearl, has worked for many years at Cape Fear Community College.

The new scholarship will add to the more than 5,000 VGCC scholarships awarded since 1982, which have been funded by interest earned on the Endowment Fund and Scholarship Program. With assets of more than $6 million, VGCC has one of the largest community college endowment and scholarship funds in the state. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education.

The children of Ella Glover Rowell presented contributions to the VGCC Endowment Fund to establish a scholarship in her memory: from left, VGCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Endowment Fund director Jo Anna Jones, Ruth Rowell Moore of Henderson, VGCC President Randy Parker, Tyrone and Pearl Rowell of Wilmington and VGCC Endowment specialist Kay Currin. Not pictured: Jeanette “Jan” Rowell Hendricks of Aberdeen, N.C., another daughter of Ella Rowell. (VGCC photo)