Emory & Henry receives $5 million gift
Emory & Henry College has received a gift of $5 million from a Dutch businessman.
The donation by the van Vlissingen Student Foundation will be used to create the van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development at the private liberal arts college in Southwest Virginia.
College said the center will work closely with its academic departments in helping its 1,300 students prepare for careers.
The van Vlissingens founded one of the world's largest private trading groups, SHV, in Utrecht in 1896.
One member of the family, John van Vlissingen, is the founder and chairman of the board of BCD Group. He received an honorary degree from Emory & Henry in May.
“Mr. van Vlissingen has great empathy for students who thirst for the guidance and skills that will lead them to the working world. His support to build and staff this professional development center will leave a legacy to the college and the region,” Emory & Henry President John W. Wells said in a statement.
Utrecht-based BCD is the third-largest business travel company in the world. Employing more than 14,500 people, the company operates in 109 countries and has annual sales of more than $27 billion.
Business Travel News, a trade publication, last year named van Vlissingen one of the 25 Most Influential People in World Business Travel.
For the past 35 years, van Vlissingen has been a major investor in U.S. real estate, including Roanoke's Valley View Mall.
Emory & Henry said the career and professional development center is only one of many initiatives on its drawing board.
The college said a business school and entrepreneurial incubator will open by fall 2020.