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Whitehead Scholars established at Reinhardt around scholarship and service

By Erika Neldner

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans knew she was meant to help people, and her legacy of genuine concern for others still thrives at Reinhardt University.

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, through which student scholarships are bestowed, supports the education of female students and the care of elderly women in nine Southeastern states.

This year, Reinhardt University has 64 scholars who formed a cohort during fall semester geared at building camaraderie and a sense of place. Eighty-seven percent of those students will be returning in the spring semester, continuing their pursuit of their degrees and participation as Whitehead Scholars.

“The Lettie Pate Whitehead scholarship provides educational opportunities for female students, and here at Reinhardt University, we wanted to create a cohort that also supports Mrs. Evans’ legacy of helping others,” said Julie Fleming, vice president for enrollment management at Reinhardt University. “We’ve done activities around community service, and that speaks to the legacy established by Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans. When these students are awarded the scholarship, it’s more than money to cover tuition. We have created an atmosphere where students can support each other and give back to the community.”

Throughout the year, Lettie Pate Whitehead scholars participate in events throughout the community, instilling a sense of philanthropy in students. The effort also coincides with Reinhardt University’s mission of educating the whole person by developing the intellectual, social, personal, vocational, spiritual and physical dimensions of its students.

Whitehead scholars participated in events throughout fall semester, including Rise Against Hunger and Flowers for a Purpose.

“On Dec. 1, I volunteered to be a part of the Flowers for a Purpose Program. I helped intellectually delayed individuals make flower bouquets. It was so great engaging with these individuals and seeing them happy,” said J’aiLa Price, a freshman majoring in musical theatre. “Before we started placing the flowers inside each vase, we put water in each one and fertilizer to make sure the flowers had nourishment and stayed beautiful. Each individual’s glass was different, so depending on the vase and length of the flower, each flower was cut to fit perfectly inside the glass.  My new friends and I picked out colorful flowers, which really brought smiles to their faces as they saw the variety of flowers bring out different colors.”

Students also volunteered for the Red Cross Blood drive and the Deck the Halls event on campus.

“The Red Cross Blood Drive that took place in the Glasshouse was a first for me. I had never given blood before, due to fear of needles, but decided to take the leap and get over the fear and help save a life,” said Sarah Cavenaugh, a freshman majoring in pre-nursing.

During the upcoming spring semester, the Lettie Pate Whitehead scholars will meet three times during the semester as a group and participate in multiple events both on and off campus.

For the March 15 meeting, Carrie Davis Conway, senior program officer for the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, will speak to the students. Conway has been with the Woodruff Foundation since 2014 and previously served as the executive director of the Southeast Region for CARE USA. She has 10 years of experience working in development in the higher education sector.

“Carrie Davis Conway can impart a great deal of knowledge on our students and inspire them as they grow into their own,” said Fleming. “We are excited for her visit next semester.”

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans was a generous philanthropist and a successful businesswoman. She married Joseph B. Whitehead, who was one of the original bottlers of Coca-Cola. When he passed away, she took over his bottling business and real estate interests, establishing the Whitehead Holding Company and the Whitehead Realty Company to manage the family’s assets.

After her first husband’s death, she remarried Col. Arthur Kelly Evans, a retired Canadian army officer, and they made their home in Virginia, where she became active in cultural and civic affairs. 

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans became one of the first female directors of any major U.S. corporation when she was appointed to the board of The Coca-Cola Company in 1934 by Robert W. Woodruff, its long-time leader. She held that position for nearly 20 years.

Her giving heart stretched from the southeast to England and France. She was a trustee of Emory University, Agnes Scott College and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Additionally, she supported personally the Queen’s Fund for air raid victims, furnished ambulances for the French and served on the board of the American Hospital in Paris.

For more information about the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation, visit lpwhitehead.org. 

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