Blue Ridge Community College receives $1.75M, its largest-ever single gift donation from an individual


BRCC News | Published January 14, 2020

Portrait of Liselotte R. Wehrheim

The Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation has received a $1.75 million bequest from the estate of Mrs. Liselotte R. Wehrheim (pictured). This bequest will provide scholarships and other program support for healthcare training programs at Blue Ridge Community College. This gift is the largest single gift from an individual in the history of the College.

Wehrheim passed away in Tryon, North Carolina, in August of 2019 at the age of 103. She grew up in Germany, where she studied nursing and served as a nurse in World War II. She moved to the United States in 1954, where she continued in her nursing profession before retiring with her husband in North Carolina. Wehrheim understood the importance of a college education and loved seeing students work hard to improve their lives.

"More than half of Blue Ridge students receive some kind of financial support while a student here,” said Blue Ridge Community College President Dr. Laura B. Leatherwood. "This gift will allow us to expand academic programs and provide support for students pursuing a career in healthcare. We strive to provide both quality and affordability, and it is through the generous support of donors like Liselotte Wehrheim that we are able to achieve those goals. We are humbled and grateful for her overwhelming generosity.”

Hans and Liselotte Wehrheim retired and moved to Flat Rock, North Carolina in the mid-1990s from Pennsylvania. An endowed scholarship fund at Blue Ridge Community College was established in their names in 2005. Though retired, Liselotte remained active in charities such as the Shriners Hospital for Children and her church. Her main passions, however, were her love of learning and travel. Liselotte remained active and traveled back and forth to Germany into her late 90s. She also engaged in lifelong learning classes at Blue Ridge Community College well into her eighties. According to her friend, Christa Hartley, "She never wanted to stop learning."

About Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation: The Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation was established in 1975 as a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization and operates for the sole benefit and support of Blue Ridge Community College and its students. Since its inception, the Foundation has expanded its portfolio to more than $14 million. Through the generous support of alumni, community friends, corporations, and private foundations, the Foundation works to expand access to higher education and further regional workforce development. By raising funds for scholarships, program and infrastructure improvements, and grants for faculty and staff, the Foundation strives to ensure that resources are available to meet the needs of both students and our rapidly growing local economy.