Joe and Jane Stogner

No one argues that the faculty of an institution are an integral part of its success; after all, how can an institution of higher learning operate without knowledgeable people to educate the students? At the most successful institutions, however, the faculty are so much more than simply “those who teach the students.” That statement is certainly true at Ferrum College, where faculty members like Joe and Jane Stogner support the mission and purpose financially, personally, and professionally. Says Joe, “Even though I have studied at several prestigious universities, I have not found any school that truly lives up to Ferrum’s mission and motto of “Not Self, But Others.” In living that motto, the Stogners feel it is important to offer their financial support of the College’s initiatives and priorities to ensure the future growth and continued service to the students and the surrounding community.

Joe Stogner, retired professor and founder of the Environmental Science program at Ferrum, has a well-known history with the College. Profiled in the 2012–2013 issue of this magazine, Stogner remains active with Ferrum in his retirement. Both he and his wife, Jane, are currently cultivating art projects of their own and enjoying retirement. Jane’s history, however, may not be as well known to the Ferrum community. She came to Ferrum College as an art professor in a department that was not big enough for two full-time positions. Working with fellow professor Bev Thornton, they grew the department into a strong program, supporting the mission of the College. “It’s fulfilling and rewarding to share my personal passion with students, to help them become more self-aware and build self-confidence,” she says. Along the way, she motivated herself through her students and found her passion in both creating and teaching art.

The Stogners believe that Ferrum College lives out its mission through each student, treating them as individuals and giving each extra time and attention as needed. As first-generation college graduates, they understand the importance of the opportunity to attend college and the necessity of getting the most out of that experience. The diverse population of both students and faculty highlights the College’s focus on quality education and experiential learning. The continued efforts of faculty members to develop their fields of study and introduce enrichment activities for students is further evidence of the strong belief in offering the best possible education to all students. As members of that faculty, the Stogners have consistently sought to involve other faculty and staff members in the support of the development projects at Ferrum. “Many people don’t know about Ferrum and the work Dr. Braaten has done to advance Ferrum as an institution until we tell them about it,” says Jane. Bringing guests to campus for events is a great way to share what Ferrum has to offer, they note. “It is important that people who support Ferrum share that support with others,” she says.

When asked about what the future looks like for Ferrum College, they are quick to point out that, if they did not feel strongly about the strength of the institution and its continued success, they would not support the College with an annuity gift. The Stogners’ Centennial Campaign gift is directed toward the Mary Morton Parsons Challenge, which was a challenge gift to complete renovations in Garber Hall; in gratitude, the College will name a room in Garber Hall for them. “We have an outstanding Board of Trustees committed to serve and guide the College in the right direction. We have been impressed with our dedicated alumni, who give of their time and support, and the large community of powerful and influential individuals who want to make a difference and believe in the Ferrum College mission,” says Joe.

Further emphasizing their strong feelings about Ferrum, Jane notes, “Ferrum College is a unique community of dedicated and talented faculty, staff, and administrators who work far beyond their contracts and job descriptions to help students realize their potential.” In addition, she says, “Ferrum creates a special learning environment that encourages students to develop problem-solving and leadership skills, which are necessary in the job market.”