Investing in Futures

Scholarship recipient Holly Gibson, James ’75 and Doris Sink ’74, M.S.’77
Scholarship recipient Holly Gibson, James ’75 and Doris Sink ’74, M.S.’77

James M.S.’75 and Doris Sink ’74, M.S.’77 never had children, but they are invested in the education and well-being of young students.

Both are retired teachers. James taught math for many years, and Doris, a third-generation teacher, taught for 16. She developed her love for the profession from her mother, Ora Gray Stowers ’34, ’42, who molded the minds of children for more than four decades.

“My mother was always interested in young people and always wanted to help,” Doris said. “She always had children on her mind and wanted to help them. She was a teacher for 43 years, mostly seventh grade, but she taught all levels.

“I think I wanted to be a teacher because my mother was a teacher,” Doris said. “I enjoyed working with the children and being able to help them.”

The Sinks are Radford alumni. Doris earned a bachelor’s degree in 1974 in elementary education, grades 1-7, with a minor in library science, which qualified her to be a librarian at Atkins Elementary School. Shortly after earning her bachelor’s degree, Doris earned a master’s degree from Radford in educational media. “I was one of the first to receive that degree,” she said.

James earned a master’s degree from Radford in 1975.

The Sinks always have been willing to go the extra distance to ensure others received a quality education, just like they did at Radford. From those strong beliefs arose the creation of a scholarship at Radford named for Doris’ mother.

The Ora Gray Stowers Scholarship was first established with a $25,000 gift. The Sinks have made additional planned giving provisions in their wills, which will allow for an additional portion of their financial assets go to their Radford University scholarship.

The purpose of the scholarship is to benefit a student from Bland County, the Sinks’ home, who is pursuing a degree in education at Radford. “That’s our No. 1 goal: to try to help students from Bland County,” James said. “If no one qualifies from Bland, we look at students from Southwest Virginia.”
The Sinks also fund scholarships at schools local to them, James noted.

“Our main reason for giving is we have no children and we would like to do something to help other children. The only way I was able to get through college is because people gave to me. I grew up rather needy. If it hadn’t been for scholarship help,” James said as his voice trailed off. “I know what it means. I’ve been there.”