Brinton “Brit” LeCompte had a soft spot for average students. It was something he affirmed in 2004, when he established the Brinton and Gladys LeCompte Scholarship Fund at the University of Lynchburg.
The scholarship, named for LeCompte and his late wife, supports B-to-C-level sophomores, juniors, and seniors who “demonstrate a special spark of useful, compassionate creativity in any field and who may have the vision and energy to see it through.”
LeCompte, a philanthropist and accomplished businessman, died on July 9, 2020, just shy of his 101st birthday. Upon his death, the University received a $200,000 estate gift in support of the LeCompte Scholarship.
“He thought there were plenty of resources out there for high-achieving students,” Gene Frantz ’72, ’76 MEd, former vice president for planned giving, said. “I kind of had a feeling he was a late bloomer himself. He felt that there were students out there — average students who hadn’t quite found their niche in life, but oftentimes that happened in college.
“He wanted to provide a scholarship for a student who was average coming in but was starting to catch fire. … He felt with Lynchburg being a small, liberal arts college, it was great grounds for a student to really catch fire. He wanted to be part of that.”
LeCompte also admired his wife’s accomplishments as a dancer, executive secretary, and golfer, and acknowledged that his female colleagues made possible a lot of what he’d achieved in the business world. For these reasons, Frantz said, he asked that women be given first preference for the scholarship.
LeCompte grew up in Delaware, where after graduating from high school he attended two years of vocational school. In his teens, he repaired radios and phonographs, and he later sold pianos. During World War II, he served in both the European and Pacific theaters. After the war, he owned several businesses, including the Brandywine Rug Company.
“Mr. LeCompte was a self-made man who came from humble origins and became a successful businessman through determination and hard work, despite never having had the opportunity to go to college, something that he deeply regretted,” said Carolyn Eubank ’67, retired assistant vice president for public relations and marketing at Lynchburg.
“He wanted to make it possible for deserving young people to have that opportunity, especially the ones who were late bloomers.”
LeCompte first became acquainted with the University in 2003 when he met Eubank at a local Kroger store. She was shucking corn in the produce section when LeCompte, who had recently moved to Lynchburg, complimented her on her technique and struck up a conversation.
“During our chance encounter at Kroger, Mr. LeCompte shared that he was a strong believer in the value and importance of education,” Eubank said. “I told him a bit about Lynchburg and that I would love to show him our campus and treat him to lunch in the dining room.”
LeCompte took Eubank up on her offer. “He was impressed with our beautiful campus and the faculty and students he met, thus beginning a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Lynchburg,” she said. “The rest is history.”
Frantz met LeCompte through Eubank and the two became friends. He would later work with LeCompte to draft a gift agreement with the University.
“He had a wit about him,” Frantz said. “He was a very optimistic person and he really loved the college students, the younger generation, and he would engage. He’d come to musical events and art shows, things like that. … He was a delightful person with a lot of energy.”