Greensboro College Receives Six-Figure Estate Gift

May 29, 2020 9:51 am
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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro College has received a high-six-figure estate gift from Mary Elizabeth Pugh Gildersleeve, Class of 1938, who was believed to have been the college’s oldest living alumna before she passed away on Jan. 24, 2020, at the age of 102.

Gildersleeve was specific about intentions for the use of her gift: 11% of her gift is to be used to create a scholarship endowment fund, with the majority of the gift to be used for construction on campus with an appropriate memorial for her parents, Charles and Anna Pugh.

The college is pleased to announce that the back patio of Main Building, which was in bad repair, has been reconstructed and named the Charles and Anna Pugh Commons to fulfill their daughter’s wish to honor her parents. Another portion of the gift will be used to pay for renovations of The Student Center, which opened this spring.

“The college is grateful for this thoughtful gift and delighted to follow Mrs. Gildersleeve’s wishes to use it to memorialize her parents,” said President Lawrence D. Czarda, Ph.D. “We hope and believe that the Charles and Anna Pugh Commons will be a focal point for the campus for students, faculty and staff alike.”

“Aunt Mary Lib would have loved the idea of the Pugh Commons,” said her great-niece Susan Cothran Daniel, who was her trustee as well as a great-granddaughter of the Pughs.

The total amount of Gildersleeve’s gift will not be known until her estate is completely settled; however, it will likely near $1 million.

Gildersleeve was born June 13, 1917, in Greensboro, where she grew up and attended Greensboro College, majoring in French and minoring in history. She was a member of the Dramatic Club and the French Club.

After graduation, she began teaching French at Lexington High School in Lexington, N.C. She retired from teaching in 1949 after marrying George Gildersleeve, who passed away in 1984.

“Mary Lib” was known to be quite a character. She loved animals, especially her Chihuahuas, who received French names and answered to French commands. She was known to keep large amounts of cash in the drawer of her kitchen stove; however, her family worried little about a kitchen fire because she never cooked, preferring to eat most meals at restaurants. She loved shopping for clothes – especially good sales.

She participated in the Old North State Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was an active member of Highland Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem.

She is survived by seven great-nephews and two great-nieces and their spouses.

Greensboro College provides a liberal arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.

Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and six master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features a 17-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities. Learn more at greensboro.edu.

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Media Contact:
Office of Communications

Greensboro College
815 W. Market St.
Greensboro, NC 27401
336-272-7102, ext. 5743

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