Truist donates $1M to U.Va. in memory of S. Buford Scott
Gift honors late Richmond financier, philanthropist
Truist Wealth has made a $1 million gift to the Walter N. Ridley Scholarship Program and the University of Virginia Alumni Association in honor of the late Richmond business and philanthropic leader Sidney Buford Scott and the brokerage firm founded by his family, Scott & Stringfellow.
The gift establishes a fully endowed Buford Scott Ridley Scholarship for the in-state cost of attendance for a young Black U.Va. student and forms the Truist-Ridley Leadership and Financial Education Academy to benefit rising second- and third-year Black students.
Scott died on Sept. 2, 2019. After two years in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps, he started working at his family’s Richmond-based brokerage firm, Scott & Stringfellow, in 1958 and served from 1974 to 2018 as board chair of the company, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of BB&T Corp. in 1999. BB&T Corp. merged with SunTrust Bank in 2019 to form Charlotte, North Carolina-based Truist Financial Corp. The Scott & Stringfellow name was retired this year.
Scott was a two-time appointee to U.Va,’s board of visitors and a member of the Alumni Association’s board of managers. He also chaired the merit-based Jefferson Scholars Program, which provides scholarships and programming support to attract students.
“This generous gift from Truist Wealth will enable scholarship support for a deserving student as well as financial education for many more,” U.Va. President Jim Ryan said in a statement. “It is a fitting tribute to Buford Scott, a true U.Va. citizen and leader whose legacy as a champion for opportunity is reflected in this unique partnership.”
Scott co-founded the Virginia Council on Economic Education, a nonprofit that works to provide K-12 students with financial skills. He devised the “Stock Market Game,” which helps students in grades 4 through 12 learn financial literacy. He also founded Elk Hill, a Goochland County-based nonprofit that provides residential and health services for low-income children. Although Elk Hill now has six sites in Virginia, it started when Scott donated the family farm in 1970. Last year, the nonprofit served more than 900 children.
The Buford Scott Ridley Scholarship is a renewable four-year merit scholarship that will cover tuition and fees, room and board and the Ridley Scholar Experience, a program offering leadership and career training. The first student to receive the scholarship will begin attending U.Va. in fall 2022. The U.Va. Alumni Association’s Ridley Scholarship Program team will administer the scholarship.
“Buford had many passions in his life. Chief among them were his family, education, equity and the University of Virginia,” Joseph M. Thompson, chief wealth officer at Truist, said in a statement. “The Buford Scott Ridley Scholarship honors the causes Buford championed, leaves a lasting legacy of the Scott family and the company they helped build, and demonstrates Truist’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
For the second result of the gift, the Truist-Ridley Leadership and Financial Education Academy will partner with the Truist Leadership Institute, the Ridley Scholarship Program and the U.Va. Career Center to provide cohorts of Black students with classroom and learning experiences covering leadership and the potential for careers in financial services, technology, consulting and related fields. The program will support two cohorts of 20 to 25 students a year.
The Ridley Scholarship Program and the U.Va. Alumni Association will work with the U.Va. Career Center to develop the selection criteria for the program. The first program will occur in the January 2022 term and will be followed by a May 2022 program.
“We are incredibly grateful that Truist Wealth chose the Ridley Scholarship Program as its partner in honoring Buford Scott and creating the academy, the first-of-its-kind program at the university,” Consuelo Kendall, chair of the Ridley Scholarship Program, said in a statement.
Established in 1987, the Walter N. Ridley Scholarship Program is named for the first Black graduate of the University of Virginia. The program has awarded more than 300 scholarships and held assets of $14.2 million as of the past fiscal year.