From the Fall 2016 edition | Back
Gary and Jill Boward of Woodbridge, Virginia, proudly carry the leadership lessons they learned from the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets with them today. Through philanthropy, they give back, ensuring that future generations learn similar lessons.
In 2012, they generously funded an Emerging Leader Scholarship (ELS), a program that provides financial support for more than 750 cadets enrolled in every college throughout the university. One special characteristic of the program is that many of the scholarships are actively sponsored by alumni, who get to meet and build relationships with the men and women they help.
Jackson Tettelbach, a junior in Naval ROTC studying civil engineering with a minor in green engineering in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering and a minor in leadership studies from the Rice Center for Leader Development, is the current recipient of the Boward’s ELS.
Gary Boward ’86 graduated with a degree in history and spent more than a decade in the U.S. Army before moving into the private sector. He currently works as an independent business consultant helping small businesses. He joined the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni Inc. board in 2013.
Jill Boward ’87, ’91 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and operations research and a master’s degree in engineering administration. She has spent 29 years as a civilian employee in the Department of Defense, and is now director of cost engineering and industrial analysis at the Naval Sea Systems Command 05C.
Q: Why did you decide to fund an Emerging Leader Scholarship?
A: Shortly after graduating Virginia Tech, we started giving back to various organizations that have had an impact/influence on our lives or served causes that we believed in. Over the past 30 years, we have been very blessed in many aspects of our lives and have continued to donate to many different organizations; foremost among those is the Virginia Tech Corp of Cadets (VTCC), who we felt significantly shaped us in our formative years and greatly influenced who we became as adults. So when the opportunity presented itself a few years ago to make a significant contribution to the VTCC that would both “give back” to the VTCC and help a cadet out financially we did not hesitate to fund an ELS.
Q: What rewards do you get from participating with the ELS program? What has been the biggest surprise?
A: There is great satisfaction in actually getting to meet and know your scholarship recipient at the annual fall ELS breakfast and know that you are helping a person who is following in a similar path that you undertook. Helping others grow and achieve their potential is always satisfying.
Another great thing about the ELS program is that you can request consideration concerning the selection of your ELS recipient. In our case, we asked that consideration be first given to graduates from the high schools our children graduated from; if no one met that criteria, another deserving student from our local area. As a result, we are also getting to help students in our community.
The biggest, and most pleasant surprise, was that the first recipient of our Emerging Leader Scholarship was the son of a former classmate of mine and whose mom was a coworker of Jill.
Q: What leadership lessons from your time in the Corps of Cadets do you use the most today?
A: The Corps of Cadets develops moral leaders with strong work ethics. It teaches you the value of serving, the importance of organizational structure and discipline, and the ability to work as part of a team for a larger purpose. Whether you go on to military service or enter the private workforce, these lessons in leadership have served both of us well since graduating from Virginia Tech.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you return to campus?
A: That’s easy to answer. For the past three years our favorite thing to do is to visit our son, who is a senior at Virginia Tech. As all college parents know, those visits often consist of taking him out for a good meal and a trip to the grocery store. Of course in the fall we also enjoy going to a football game. When we are not doing the latter we enjoy walking around campus and visiting Upper Quad and the German Club. This spring, while visiting our son, we had the privilege of watching the son of a close Army friend complete the Caldwell March and the first-year completion ceremony that followed.
Q: If you could have dinner with any Corps of Cadets alumnus from any time, who would it be and what would you talk about?
A: There are so many distinguished VTCC alumni, from those who served in the military to those who have achieved great success in other endeavors, that selecting just one is a difficult task. So with that in mind, I would choose to have dinner with someone I have dinner with all the time: my favorite alumnus, Jill, my wife.
About the Emerging Leader Scholarships
You may fund an Emerging Leader Scholarship in your name, in combination with your spouse and/or other family members, or you may choose to make a memorial or honorary gift for a person of your choosing.
The minimum amount to name an ELS is $100,000 paid over up to five years or supported with a trust, annuity, or other estate gift that meets the minimum foundation requirements at the time the gift is received at Virginia Tech.
In-state recipients get $2,000 a year for a total of $8,000 over four years. Out-of-state recipients, who pay higher tuition, receive $3,000 a year for a total of $12,000 over four years. Cadets must meet and maintain a certain set of criteria to retain their awards.