from The Bridge: Fall/Winter 2011 issue
Linda and Whitlow Wyatt '70 have a heart for young people and a passion for W&L. That's why they've committed a significant, twofold gift for the Wyatt Endowment for Counseling and the Wyatt Teacher Education Endowment. They hope the donation will strengthen W&L's academic programs while also providing a safe place for students struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
As a past member of the board of directors for Atlanta's Link Counseling Center, Linda learned devastating statistics about high suicide rates among teenagers and young adults.
"I was amazed at how many young people go no place with their pain," Linda says. "We wanted to get involved in making it possible so that young people wouldn't feel like they were at a dead end."
The funds designated for W&L's counseling center will allow the University to increase the center's hours and expand student access to on-campus mental health services.
"Our concern was that if a W&L student needed help, that they would have a place to go in Lexington, rather than having to go out of town for mental-health services," says Whitlow Wyatt, who is the retired chairman of Altama Footwear Corp.
The couple-whose daughter, Mary Radford Wyatt '08, was a business administration major-is enthusiastic about the University's Teacher Education Program. It prepares students for careers in teaching as intelligent, compassionate, honorable and dynamic leaders in their classrooms, schools and communities. In particular, the Wyatts were intrigued by the students' work last year creating literacy kits for Rockbridge County schoolchildren and their families.
"Linda and I believe that education is the number one issue in the United States," Whitlow says. "We hope teacher education becomes a big part of the University, and that W&L plays a significant role in developing more qualified teachers in the United States."