Marcia Ellis Golden ’68 spent her happiest days at Lynchburg, according to Gene Frantz ’71, ’76 MEd, who would reconnect with the former English major decades later over lunch in Colonial Heights, Virginia.
“She always talked about how accessible the professors were,” Frantz said. “How friendly the campus was, just the right size. Her eyes would sparkle.”
During those later years, when Golden was alone and in poor health, she looked forward to receiving the Lynchburg College Magazine in the mail, and to phone calls from Frantz.
“When I called her and asked, ‘Can I take you out to lunch?’ her voice would lift up,” he recalled. “We went to Golden Corral, of all places. She would bring coupons and we’d eat off the salad bar. … She always had a smile on her face.”
Frantz was vice president for external affairs at Lynchburg in the 1990s when she reached out to him about establishing a scholarship. He helped her draw up a scholarship agreement, which she and her attorney used to designate 75% of her estate to Lynchburg.
Back then, she expected the gift would yield about $400,000, according to Sarah Rhodes, assistant director for donor relations. Golden died in August 2020 and Lynchburg has received $975,000 from her gift to date.
“Marcia’s estate included a house, coin collection, and several acres of land,” Rhodes said, adding that the proceeds of the estate settlement will be divided between the University and Dogs for the Deaf.
The Marcia Ellis Golden Scholarship will benefit Virginia students in good academic standing who demonstrate financial need.
“She wanted to inspire others, help them get an education,” Frantz said.
Golden was a member of Kappa Delta Pi. She worked for a while after graduation and was married briefly, but had no surviving family when she died. She moved into an assisted living facility in Colonial Heights in 2016.
“When she died, the assisted living facility simply cleaned out her room,” said Nell Bodine ’81, a senior accountant for endowments and investments. “Apparently, they had no one to contact about her death.”
Frantz, who used to send her Christmas and birthday cards, remembers not getting the usual phone call or letter after his last card.
“Although she had no heirs, Ms. Golden is leaving a legacy that will benefit hundreds of students for years to come with an endowed scholarship in her name,” Bodine said.
“Thank goodness, she took the time 25 years ago to set up this planned gift.”
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