With their extraordinary philanthropy and spirit of devotion, members of the Bronco Legacy Circle lay the foundation for Fayetteville State University’s future in this millennium and beyond. They also take their rightful place alongside such visionaries as David A. Bryant, Nelson Carter, Andrew J. Chesnutt, George Grainger, Matthew Leary, Thomas Lomax, and Robert Simmons, and other pivotal figures in the university's proud history. Read More...
Dr. Leonza Loftin
has been contributing to Fayetteville State every year since he graduated in 1968. When a University Department of Development staff member approached him about future gift planning, he didn’t need to be convinced. Loftin became the first person to bequest a gift to FSU, and the first member of the Bronco Legacy Circle.
After being approached about planned giving, Loftin, who currently teaches in the Department of Math and Computer Science at FSU, spoke with his family about it and gladly agreed.
“Immediately I knew it was a good idea. I didn’t need to be sold on the idea. I think I’m a strong supporter of FSU. I’ve been making a contribution and have been an active member of the alumni association ever since I graduated,” Loftin said. “I’ve been making contributions in no real highly-organized fashion. This is something that occurred to me that I can do one time and it will be there. I can even increase it if I want to just by making a note to myself.”
Loftin feels his bequest is a great way to give back to a cause he believes in. He encourages others to give through bequests and planned giving because as he put it, “They will never miss it.”
“One way to look at it is, you’ll never miss it! That’s facetious to say. If you can get your family to agree to it, there’s no pressure on anybody,” Loftin said. “If you agree to give 50 percent or 30 percent, it’s easy on them knowing what is going to happen in advance.”
Loftin has been married to his wife Elizabeth for over 56 years. They have three children and several grandchildren. He is a self proclaimed tennis buff and avid bowler. He helped form a tennis association with the express purpose of working with young people in 1967 and is still a member of the group.
graduated from Fayetteville State in 1941. After dedicating her career to education, she retired after thirty years. Her love for education was cultivated at Fayetteville State and her commitment to the university has shown through her unending support. She recently joined the Bronco Legacy Circle by making FSU a beneficiary in her will.
"I remembered that Fayetteville was to me the right size for someone to be there and especially someone who would like to have the experience of not being too big or too small. You got an opportunity to know all the students and it was more like a family to me,” Stroud said.
Stroud and her late husband, Gerson Stroud, were focused on giving others the gift of education. They created a foundation to benefit scholarships at their respective universities. She attended Fayetteville State, while he attended Johnson C. Smith University. Each year, the Strouds raised money through their foundation and donated it to scholarships at each school every other year. Like many alumni, though she has donated numerous times, Stroud had never considered making a planned gift to FSU. Mary Bailey, senior major gifts officer at FSU, approached Stroud about a planned gift, and she didn’t hesitate to make Fayetteville State a beneficiary in her will.
“I think universities cannot prosper or make any progress unless graduates give back to the institution,’’ Stroud said. “I think of this as an opportunity to give back to the university that did so much for you and I cannot understand why a graduate would not consider that. They just have to think about what they got from there and it would be normal to want to give back. I think a lot of people don’t give back a lot of times because they are not approached … sometimes it doesn’t enter their minds.”
Like other members of the Bronco Legacy Circle, Stroud will receive a bronze medallion and will be recognized at an annual luncheon hosted by the Chancellor, FSU leadership, and student leadership. She will also have her name engraved on the Bronco Legacy Wall, located in the newly renovated lobby of the J.W. Seabrook Auditorium.
is excited to walk across the Seabrook Auditorium stage for the first time since she graduated from Fayetteville State University in 1966. As a member of the Bronco Legacy Circle, she will be honored at Seabrook on Founders Day in April 2008.
The Bronco Legacy Circle was created to recognize those who have indicated FSU a beneficiary in their will or is a participant in a planned or deferred gift such as an annuity or charitable lead trust. Graham has had Fayetteville State University listed as a beneficiary in her will for some time now, but when she officially notified FSU that they were a benefactor, she became a member of the growing Bronco Legacy Circle.
Graham has indicated three organizations in her will which she considers near and dear to her heart. She has named her home church, current church, and FSU as benefactors in her will.
“It’s important to do this to keep them going. It’s a contribution to hopefully guarantee that those organizations will always prosper and will continue on from generation to generation,” Graham said.
Graham recalls her time at FSU – days when the dining hall was in the Cook Building and when girls had to be in the dorms by 7 p.m. She also remembers it as a time when she really grew up. When she moved to FSU, she had only been away from her parents once in her life -- during a 4th grade trip to Washington, DC.
“At first I was very homesick. I called my mother and she said, ‘Where are you going?’ and she gave me the option to stay there and finish or you can come home and die,” Graham said laughing as she recalled the conversation.
Graham stayed and finished and is glad she did. She always loved people and knew she wanted to help others so she majored in Sociology and spent her career as a social worker. She retired from the Child Welfare Division of the Department of Social Services. She still does volunteer work as a social worker.
Graham recounts the friends that she made as one of the most memorable things about FSU. After 50 years, she still gets together with friends from FSU.
“I met so many people and learned about so many places that I had no idea … At that time, Fayetteville State was a small campus. You knew just about everyone on campus. When we go back we still have that small family-type atmosphere,” Graham said. “I value people I met and friendships I made up to this day.”
Though retired, Graham stays busy with her church and is an expert at knitting and crocheting, for which she has won awards at the State Fair.