News Archive

Randolph College Receives Major Gift From Former Faculty Member

Margaret Pertzoff's estate gift will create endowed scholarship fund.

6/10/2009 10:59:55 AM


Margaret Pertzoff was a beloved professor, well-known for her passion and dedication to students.

LYNCHBURG – A $1.4 million bequest from a former professor will help make a Randolph College education more affordable to future students.

An estate gift dedicated to student scholarships from Margaret Pertzoff was announced this week. The Margaret H. Pertzoff Endowed Scholarship Fund will enhance Randolph College’s efforts to provide its students with financial assistance.

Pertzoff was a well-known and beloved professor at the college, teaching European and Russian history. During her 31-year tenure, Pertzoff was honored with two endowed chairs, the Theodore H. Jack Professor of History and the Mary Frances Williams Professor of Humanities. In 1972, she received the Gillie A. Larew Award for Distinguished Teaching. She also earned the Katherine Graves Davidson ’35 Award in 1995-96 for bringing distinction to the college.

Students have described Pertzoff as inspirational, and her courses in European and Russian history were known equally for their popularity and rigor and challenge. She amassed an impressive record of contributions to all aspects of the college and served on and chaired every major committee during her tenure.

"This is a strong endorsement of Randolph College from a distinguished member of the R-MWC faculty," said John E. Klein, president. "This generous gift will help us put a quality education within reach of many deserving students. We are grateful for Dr. Pertzoff’s commitment and passion for excellence in education."

Pertzoff, a long-time resident of Charlottesville, passed away March 8. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, June 13 at 4 p.m. at Wintergreen Farm near Charlottesville.

Born on the 4th of July, 1926, to U.S. Navy Captain George and Eleanor (Perry) Henderson, Margaret grew up and attended Weston, Massachusetts schools. In 1937, Captain Henderson was sent to the Philippines and his family accompanied him. In 1939, the family returned to Weston after completing a circumnavigation of the world. These early voyages inspired Pertzoff’s life-long passion for world travel. Pertzoff graduated from Elmira College in 1947, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She received her Master of Arts degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree in history at the University of Virginia.

For a complete obituary, please see:

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations