The Jones family with Vera Campbell (left) and Mable Ellerbee (right)
North Carolina native Elizabeth Jones is a lifelong learner. Her passion for learning and teaching has inspired her personal and professional life — she earned three master’s degrees and one PhD and taught art history for 20 years.
Elizabeth’s mother was a teacher and her father was a founder of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College in her hometown of Laurinburg, North Carolina. While her parents’ served as models of philanthropy, two other significant figures in her life, Vera Campbell and Mable Ellerbee, inspired her recent gift to Carolina.
Vera and Mable worked for the Jones family for 35 years. “They supported our family in every way possible, all while supporting their own families at home,” Elizabeth remembered. “They were my heroes.”
Elizabeth recalled asking Vera if there was anything about her life she would have liked to have changed. Vera responded, “I really would’ve liked to have gone to college.”
In honor of Vera’s dream and the profound impact that these two women had on her and her family’s lives, Elizabeth established a private scholarship for Scotland County students seeking to further their education.
Sparked by a reading of Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon, “The Man Who Was a Fool,” Elizabeth realized she wanted this scholarship to grow.
“The sermon resonated with me,” said Elizabeth. “It claims that wealth comes as a result of the commonwealth, and we are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women. Our good fortune is often based on the lives of other people. I owe much of my good fortune to Mable and Vera.”
“I have everything I need,” added Elizabeth. “I want to put my money where other people can benefit from it. I want to invest in people, not in stocks and bonds.”
Elizabeth decided to reach out to Carolina. “While it is not my alma mater, I was drawn to Carolina because it is committed to a diverse program and diverse student body. Diversity opens minds and brings all kinds of perspectives to the classroom that you would never have otherwise.”
Carolina’s Forever Blue Matching fund sealed the deal. Forever Blue is a program designed to attract donors interested in leveraging University funds as part of their giving. Elizabeth wanted her gift to be meaningful and substantial — knowing that her $300,000 would be matched with $100,000 was a determining factor.
Elizabeth was also excited by the potential to meet the scholarship recipients. “I think it is really important to see how you’re affecting other people. I love that this gift could last forever — it can be something that I leave that will last and continue to be good.”
Vera Campbell and Mable Ellerbee didn’t have the opportunity to go to college, but their legacy inspired a gift that will provide for future generations. With the establishment of the Campbell/Ellerbee Memorial Scholarship, qualifying students from all backgrounds will be able to pursue the education of their dreams at Carolina.