Former Chairman of Lowe’s Companies Inc. Makes Record Donation to  Forsyth Technical Community College

Largest donation made by an individual donor in history of Forsyth Tech

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, Forsyth Technical Community College is thankful to Robert L. and Elizabeth M. Strickland for their generosity. Longtime Winston-Salem residents, the Stricklands are making the largest donation by an individual donor in the history of the college. In support of the Stricklands’ desires to improve the lives of students and help them find meaningful careers upon graduation, the school has received a gift of $2.8 million to endow a newly-created Director position at the College’s Career Center.  As a result, the Robert L. Strickland Director of Career Services will be responsible for providing leadership and vision in coordinating the development and operation of all Career Development programs provided by Forsyth Tech.

Bob Strickland said, “Betty & I have both long believed that you don’t go to college simply to learn how to make a living— you also go to college to learn how to live. It is our fondest hope that this new Career Center will be able to give our community’s students an extra boost of the guidance, information, and mentoring wisdom they’ll need to propel their Forsyth Tech education into exciting and productive careers — and thereby we hope, happy and fulfilling lives for themselves and their families. This gift reflects our desire to encourage others, as William Jennings Bryan writes ‘destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.’”

In recognition of the gift and Bob Strickland’s lifetime commitment to business excellence and public service, the College Board of Trustees has renamed the building currently known as the Oak Grove Center, the Robert L. Strickland Center. 

“We appreciate the generosity of the Stricklands to help our students find their pathway to success,” said Corey Miller, executive director of Development and the Forsyth Tech Foundation. “This transformative gift will be a life-changing investment in our students. It will establish the first endowed position at the college, and bring resources to enhance our career center. In addition, it will allow us to complete our Pathways to Possibilities Capital Campaign, exceeding the goal of $18 million.”

Mr. Strickland joined Lowe’s Companies, Inc. in 1957 as its seventh employee, served as Chairman of the Board, and retired in 1998 after 41 years. He was a strong advocate for the development of the community college system through serving as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly from 1961-63 and as a founding Trustee at Wilkes Community College in 1965. His passion for higher education was also reflected through his service on the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1987-1995. In addition, Mr. Strickland served in a number of other leadership roles outside Lowe’s, including board roles at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Hannaford Brothers, the ESOP Association, and the Home Safety Council.

“Bob and Betty Strickland have long been supporters and advocates for community college student success, and at Forsyth Tech that means connecting students with career opportunities. Through their generosity, the College will put students on the path to a successful career and a secure economic future,” Forsyth Tech President Gary Green said.

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