December 17, 2014

Ken and Barbara Stanley Contribute to VSU’s Capital Campaign

VALDOSTA -- Providing an opportunity to recognize academic excellence for business majors is at the heart of Drs. Ken and Barbara Stanley's gift to Valdosta State University's Invest.Ignite.Inspire comprehensive capital campaign.
“There is such a rich culture of giving back at Valdosta State University, and throughout this community,” said VSU President William J. McKinney. “VSU owes a debt of gratitude to Ken and Barbara Stanley. They have set a wonderful example of this philanthropic spirit, and paved the way for others to follow.”
The financial commitment is a continuation of the couple’s original gift in 2007 to create the Stanley Beta Gamma Sigma endowment. Income from the endowment is used to fund student initiation fees and assist in the general operation of Valdosta State’s Beta Gamma Sigma chapter.
"The motivation behind the gift and what we have seen for a long time is good students are inundated with opportunities to have resume lines from the time they show up as freshmen," said Ken Stanley. "They are asked to join various academic societies and by the time they reach their junior or senior year they lose interest and often do not have money to pay the initiation fees to join additional organizations such as Beta Gamma Sigma."
Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is regarded as the highest academic recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive. It is also the only scholastic honor society recognized by AACSB International (AACSB).
“It is a big deal on a student’s resume,” said Ken Stanley. “It is the type of thing in business circles that is recognized as a high level of academic achievement. This becomes even more important when graduating students seek employment or admission to graduate schools.”
Having been a member of Beta Gamma Sigma since 1970, Ken Stanley understands the academic and professional importance of membership to business majors.
When he arrived at Valdosta State in 1984, the business school was in the process of securing AACSB accreditation, which is a requirement for schools of business to host a Beta Gamma Sigma chapter. After receiving the AACSB accreditation, it was Ken Stanley’s goal to establish the Beta Gamma Sigma chapter at Valdosta State.
As a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Board of Governors, Ken Stanley’s commitment to the international honor society grew. In 2007, he and Barbara decided to establish the endowment.
The Stanleys have witnessed Valdosta State’s transition from a college to a university and consider themselves fortunate to be able to continue to assist the university in their retirement.
Ken Stanley recalls several milestones during his 29 years at VSU, including 21 years as dean of the school of business; naming the LCOBA after local businessman Harley Langdale Jr. in 2000; and in 2002, the college received an $8 million bequest from the estate of Rea and Lillian Steele.
He is also proud of VSU’s and the LCOBA’s participation in the establishment of the Georgia WebMBA program formed in 2001. The LCOBA is one of five University System of Georgia business schools participating in this nationally recognized online MBA program. In addition, he fondly remembers the renovation of Pound Hall in the early 1990s, which was completed in a capital campaign that matched private funds with state allocations.
Barbara Stanley, who retired in 2012, worked in various positions during her 23 years at Valdosta State, including associate professor and head of the Department of Middle Grades, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education.
Her first position on campus involved working with developmental studies. She was then hired to implement a grant in the Dewar College of Education and Human Services to establish an adult literacy center to assist members of the community improve reading and writing skills. Prior to retirement, she helped the Dewar College of Education and Human Services develop online programs to assist teachers across Georgia obtain graduate degrees at the master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels.
“We started the online degree programs and helped hundreds of students earn graduate degrees,” said Barbara Stanley, who received specialist and doctoral degrees from Valdosta State. “Feedback from online students indicated they would have difficulty managing to go back and get another degree because of work and family. Living in very rural areas, and even those living in Atlanta traveling across town attending traditional classes was often an impossible situation. Online programs were a big impact and continue to have a big impact on training teachers statewide.”
Having lived in Valdosta for more than 30 years, the Stanleys have raised three sons ­­— Brian, Eric, and Patrick — in the community and continue to support Valdosta State.
“Since I was in education, and so many of our students stay locally, it has been nice to see those students achieving in their field and supporting student learning,” said Barbara Stanley.
According to John Crawford, vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the VSU Foundation Inc., the Invest.Ignite.Inspire comprehensive capital campaign is focused on raising the necessary funds to support student enrichment, faculty enhancement, program opportunities, athletic excellence, and facility upgrades.
“Ken and Barbara Stanley’s commitment to the students at VSU is evident thru their combined 52 years of service at Valdosta State University,” said Crawford. “They have both had a tremendous impact on the students they touched during their tenure at VSU, and their continued generosity will have a lasting impact on VSU students for years to come.”
For more information on VSU’s comprehensive campaign, contact John Crawford at 229-333-5939 or email