Anonymous Donor Plants $50,000 Dempsey Scholarship Seed

Pete Miller, Wayne Dempsey, Ed Schrader and Marsha Dempsey
Pete Miller, Wayne Dempsey, Ed Schrader and Marsha Dempsey

Brenau’s senior development director Robert Shippey spent part of his career as a minister, which compelled him at times to listen sympathetically, but with a dispassionate poker face, to the most tear-jerking, heart-ringing tales. Yet he admits that a few weeks ago he lost all vestiges of that studied stoicism when that almost-can’t-swallow catch one gets in his throat betrayed his attempt to hold emotion in check.

The donor, who is not among “the usual suspects” of Brenau supporters, wanted to give $50,000 to honor the late Wayne W. Dempsey. The donor insisted that the contribution be anonymous.

“It was totally unexpected from an unexpected source,” says Shippey, “and I was genuinely moved.”

Dempsey, who by all accounts led an exemplary life, also caused people to be moved – at least one of which was an anonymous donor. Called the Wayne W. Dempsey Endowed Scholarship Fund, the fruits of the gift by benefactor’s specification is available to any students at any level “who are pursuing degrees, completing their studies or seeking to achieve better lives through a Brenau University education.” However, preference will be accorded to those enrolled in either the College of Education or the College of Health Sciences. Dempsey, a life-long educator, began his career as a high school biology teacher.

By design the fund – described by university officials as a quasi-endowment – will receive gifts of $10,000 per year for five years. When the fund accumulates $50,000, earnings from fund investments will be disbursed annually to select students – ironically on a formula that Dempsey as Brenau’s top financial executive helped maintain to keep university endowment investments solvent during the rough economic times in the last decade.

The fund is also something of a “challenge grant.” Friends of Dempsey and others who want to honor him may contribute to the quasi-endowment pool of funds that the institution can draw from immediately to begin awarding Dempsey scholarships, or they can contribute to the endowment, thereby helping attain the $50,000 threshold quicker.

For more information about participating in the initiatives honoring Wayne Dempsey or any other activity related to the ForeverGold campaign, contact Thomas at or at 770.534.6160.

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