Mr. Edward W. States '57
Membership in the Golden Panthers at Ferrum College is attained if one is a member of class who graduated from Ferrum College at least 50 years ago. For many of us, that is an accomplishment we can barely conceive. For incoming Golden Panther Chair, Ed States ’57, that is only the beginning of his story. As a high school student, States admits he did not apply himself to his academic career and did not make the most of his opportunity. Shortly thereafter, he was drafted and spent two years in the Army; following his discharge, he made a friend whose brother was a student at Ferrum College. States was looking for a fresh start and a reintroduction into education after a less than stellar high school career and a feeling of disconnection from his years in the military. He believed then, and continues to believe now, that Ferrum is an excellent opportunity for those seeking a purpose or looking for a second chance. States enrolled at Ferrum in January of 1956 and spent three semesters there; utilizing the remainder of his GI Bill, he studied at Concord College in West Virginia, where he met his wife, Mary Ellen Thorpe. States began a fascinating career with the United States General Accounting Office, which functions as the audit and investigative arm of Congress; he worked on numerous projects in his 32 year career, both in the United States and abroad.
Among the many fond memories he carries from Ferrum, States says he always laughs when he remembers the night that someone climbed up into the Chapel and played a Kitty Wells song on the chime set at full volume! He feels the friends he made while at Ferrum are some of his closest friends still today and hopes that current and future Ferrum students will have the same experience—minus the late night serenade! States believes in the fundamental principle of giving back to one’s alma mater; “if you can get into the habit of making a donation annually, no matter how small, we can make a difference for deserving students.” States is also working on raising the total for the endowed Golden Panthers Scholarship, a project of the group that has grown substantially over the last few decades. (With the focus of the Golden Panthers, States feels this scholarship has the potential to make a huge difference for student scholarships.) An IPTAY (I Pay Ten or more A Year) Program has been established as the vehicle for promoting Golden Panthers' annual giving to the scholarship fund. With this focus, States feels there is potential for the Golden Panthers to make a huge difference in the number and amount of student scholarships. “We have the opportunity to live for a moment the Ferrum College motto: ‘not self but others’ and give back to Ferrum. Hopefully we can get in the habit and do it every year. It only takes five minutes to get that check in the mail.”
As the Golden Panthers move forward, States says the group is looking for other opportunities to bring classmates together on a regular basis and promote involvement in the Ferrum community. States notes that there are many ways in which an older alumnus can reconnect or stay current on Ferrum events: athletic events and the Blue Ridge Dinner Theater are chief among them. States hopes future trips to relatively close destinations of interest will materialize and says of the Golden Panthers, “we are always looking for new ideas.”