Scholarship donated in honor of TWC professors

Posted on: March 12, 2012

Bryan and Beth Jackson pledge $25,000 to TWC's scholarship fund to honor Dr. Durwood Dunn and Dr. David Duncan.

When Bryan and Beth Jackson moved from Knoxville to Athens, Tenn., in 1980, “the Friendly City” was more of an idea than a reality. After more than 30 enjoyable years of life in Athens, 12 of which Bryan spent teaching business at Tennessee Wesleyan College, the Jacksons have decided to give back to the community and college that they love.

“Since we’ve been in Athens so many people have reached out to help us and have done so much for us,” said Bryan, a TWC board of trustees member who co-owns Jackson and Runyan CPA's, PLLC, a local accounting firm. “We’ve been able to build this business, prosper, have a great life and raise three wonderful children here. That’s just the kind of experience that makes you want to give back.”

The Jacksons have pledged $25,000 to TWC’s scholarship fund, donating the money in honor of Dr. Durwood Dunn and Dr. David Duncan, professors of history at the college and dear friends of Bryan and Beth.

“We think back to those early days of working with these two,” said Bryan. “We have seen the impact they have on students and we think they’re worthy of being honored with this donation.”

The Jacksons credit TWC President Dr. Harley Knowles as the inspiration behind their donation.

“Dr. Knowles has really involved the board in a way that no other president has,” said Bryan. “He’s challenged the board to think about what we can do to give back and in what ways we can personalize our donations and support of the college.”

The Durwood Dunn – David Duncan Scholarship provided by the Jacksons will be spread out for $5,000 a year for five years and will be primarily used for liberal arts.

“We’re still discussing whether to restrict it to history or to open it up to all liberal arts,” said Bryan, whose first $5,000 donation will be used this fall at the college. “What we want is for Dunn and Duncan to go out and recruit excellent students. We’re making this a non-need based scholarship. Beth and I feel that that’s important. There are a lot of need-based scholarships out there. We want TWC to have the best students regardless of need.”

Beth Jackson feels strongly about the decision to fund a non-need based scholarship she said.

“It’s important to reward the students who have worked hard all the way throughout high school,” said Beth, a librarian at West Side Elementary school for more than 30 years. “Athletes get merit scholarships for their athletic ability and so should students who work hard. I wish we could give even more.”

Bryan equates the success of TWC with the success of its students he said.

“If TWC is going to become the institution that it has the potential to become, it needs to be able to go out and recruit those academic stars,” said Bryan.

For both Bryan and Beth, giving back to TWC is a service to the community that they hope other TWC alumni and community members will also consider.

“I was a first generation college student in my family,” said Bryan. “I think anything that any of us can do to make it possible for really deserving people to go to school we should do. I have such a close tie to and a strong feeling for TWC. We want to do anything and everything we can to promote the college, financially and in every way.

“Hopefully over time we’ll have a chance to do more. I really want to encourage my friends and clients to think about tithing their wills. We have decided to tithe ours and TWC will be one of the beneficiaries. That’s one more thing that we can do to give back to the community and college.”

Bryan’s hope for his and his wife’s donation is that it sets an example.

“Some people prefer to give anonymously but our feeling has been that we want to try and set an example,” said Bryan. “We want people to look at what we do and say ‘I can do that, I can do more than that.’ Taking a leadership role and giving is important to us and I hope this scholarship not only helps TWC students to achieve their academic goals but also helps to inspire community members and TWC alumni to help the college achieve its goals as well.”

Bryan and Beth Jackson have three children: Andrea, who works as a corporate executive at Scripps Networks in Knoxville, Tenn., Joseph Alan, who is an attorney clerking for a federal judge in Rome, Ga. and Amy, who is working on her second Master’s degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, La. Both Bryan and Beth graduated from the University of Tennessee, Bryan with his MBA and Beth with her Master’s in Library Science. Bryan also received his undergraduate degree at UT while Beth received hers from Maryville College.