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UVa-Wise, MECC and SWCC each receive $4 million donation

May 5th, 2014 12:46 pm by Stephen Igo

UVa-Wise, MECC and SWCC each receive $4 million donation

Carol Phipps Buchanan and Dr. John C. Buchanan. Contributed photo.

NORTON -- The University of Virginia's College at Wise, Mountain Empire Community College and Southwest Virginia Community College joined executors of the estate of the late Carol Phipps Buchanan on Monday to announce the three colleges will share equally in the estate of about $12 million.

Each college will receive about $4 million to support higher education initiatives at their separate campuses. The funds will go into each college endowment foundation to protect the principle for a lasting legacy, with interest earned to support the college initiatives, including scholarships.

"Mrs. Buchanan, although a very private person, was a strong believer in education," said attorney and estate executor Bill Sturgill. "This was demonstrated in her work with the Columbus Phipps Foundation, an educational foundation which bears the name of her grandfather. She committed her own wealth to her belief in education and left a lasting legacy which will benefit future generations."

Carol Phipps Buchanan was a daughter of the late Dr. Rufus L. Phipps and the wife of Dr. John C. Buchanan. Her husband was a former Virginia state senator who sponsored the first state statute providing workers' compensation for coal miners suffering from black lung disease.

"Mountain Empire Community College is very grateful to the late Carol Buchanan for entrustsing us with an unrestricted legacy gift of approximately $4 million," said MECC President Scott Hamilton. "This is the largest private gift ever received by the college. I only wish that I had been able to personally express my appreciation to her for making the decision to change the future of so many students in this way."

Phipps Buchanan served as a trustee on the Columbus Phipps Foundation until her death in 2011 at age 86. She also bequeathed her 40-acre estate to the Town of Wise Industrial Development Authority to establish an animal sanctuary and walking park.

For more on this story read Tuesday's print edition of the Times-News.

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