The Pathways to Possibilities gift from longtime Winston-Salem residents Robert and Elizabeth Strickland has already changed the landscape at Forsyth Tech, and will soon be improving the lives of our students as they prepare to head into the workplace. The Stricklands’ gift of $2.8 million is the largest ever received by the college from individual donors; and at their request, it will support the development of the college’s Career Center, including an endowed position of Career Center director. The Center will be located in the former Oak Grove building on the school’s Silas Creek Parkway campus, where new signage was recently installed to reflect its renaming by the college Trustees as the Robert L. Strickland Center.
“The additional leadership position for the Career Center will help coordinate resources for our students, and there will be a new physical location in a renovated space along with new software and other services,” said Forsyth Tech President Gary Green. “While the knowledge and skills students acquire at Forsyth Tech make them qualified to work in their chosen field, their degree doesn’t automatically get that student a job. Forsyth Tech offers help with job search skills, such as resume writing and interviewing, and connecting them with potential employers. Bringing it all together in one place, and having a center director, will help students take full advantage of these and expanded services.”
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Stricklands and their commitment to advancing the life success of our students,” said Bill Green, executive director of the Forsyth Tech Foundation and chief development officer for the college. “This gift is a long-term investment that will transform lives. It establishes the first endowed position at the college, and brings much-needed resources and capabilities to the critical work of our career services.”
Bob Strickland served as Chairman of the Board of Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (Lowe’s Home Improvement) and retired in 1998 after 41 years of service. He joined Lowe’s in 1957 as its seventh employee.
He also served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as Vice Chairman of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Corporation, as a Director with Hannaford Brothers, and as a Director with T. Rowe Price. Strickland has long been an advocate for education. He served in the N.C. General Assembly from 1961-1963 and was a founding trustee at Wilkes Community College in 1965. Strickland also served on the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill from 1987 – 1995.
“Betty and I have both long believed that you don’t go to college simply to learn how to make a living – you go to college to learn how to live,” said Bob Strickland. “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. The 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.’”
“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,” Gary Green said. “Through their generosity, the College will put students on the path to a successful career and a secure economic future.”