Cabell Brand’s legacy as an ardent advocate for education is living on through his scholarship program.
On Thursday, Feb. 11, the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation announced the establishment of an endowed scholarship in Brand’s honor.
Brand, a Salem philanthropist, businessman and hometown hero, passed away in 2015 at the age of 91. The Cabell Brand Center, which he founded in 1987, gifted Virginia Western with $60,000 to initiate the scholarship.
Cabell and his late wife, Shirley, are the parents of five children, who they raised in Salem.
“My father’s vision was to build a community where its citizens were responsibly engaged,” said Caroline Mateja, Brand’s daughter. “Engaged in promoting equality, strengthening access to education and employment, access to health care and necessary social support on a local scale, but with an understanding of how this impacted us globally. It was his tireless passion.”
The scholarship will be awarded to students who complete academic internships at organizations that embody the center’s mission of “addressing poverty, peace and the environment.” The center’s motto is “think globally and act locally.”
The scholarship is meant to help students financially while they seek important opportunities for career advancement, many of which often go unpaid.
“While they would like to take advantage of important career internships, they simply can’t afford to go without an income,” said Dr. Angela M. Garcia Falconetti, executive director of the Educational Foundation and the college’s vice president of institutional advancement, in a statement. “This scholarship is intended to bridge that financial gap and spur their interest in a career of public service.”
Brand, a Virginia Military Institute graduate, returned home to Salem in 1949 after serving in World War II, and took over his father’s shoe business, which he expanded into the Stuart McGuire Company and later sold to the Home Shopping Network in 1986.
In 1965, he started Total Action Against Poverty, now known as Total Action for Progress, to help low-income individuals, and was also instrumental in creating one of the country’s first Head Start programs, which promotes school readiness for children under 5.
“Cabell called on us all to serve our communities as engaged and socially responsible citizens,” said Steve Sunderman, president of the Cabell Brand Center, in a statement. “By funding this scholarship, we are honoring his relentless passion for learning and public service.”
He also authored the book, “If Not Me, Then Who?” which addresses issues such as poverty and providing equal opportunities for everyone.
“With the development of this new scholarship program at Virginia Western Community College, students will have some financial assistance to allow them to focus their energy on internships that specialize in nonprofit endeavors like poverty, peace and the environment— the core missions of the Cabell Brand Center,” Mateja added. “My dad would be proud today to see his hard work benefit students who wish to continue his legacy.”
The deadline to apply for the scholarship is March 16. Contact Rhonda Perdue at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-857-6325 for more information.
To learn more about scholarships, projects and events offered by the Cabell Brand Center, visit http://www.cabellbrandcenter.org/.