Dr. and Mrs. Lewis W. Gravely have chosen to establish the D.K. Shroyer and Alma Davenport Shroyer Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Beckley Area Foundation.
Following Mrs. Shroyer’s death in 1974, Dr. Gravely made a significant gift to Beckley College for an endowed scholarship honoring her memory. This fund was administered by Beckley College, then the College of West Virginia and most recently Mountain State University.
When Mr. Shroyer died in 1974, the governing board of Beckley College established a scholarship in his honor; the scholarship was granted from the general funds of the college and was not formally endowed. In later years, the scholarship ceased to exist.
Upon the closing of Mountain State University, the MSU Foundation contacted the donors of their endowments regarding the disposition of the funds. Dr. Gravely directed that the assets be moved to the Beckley Area Foundation and used for a scholarship honoring both Alma and Ken Shroyer, his aunt and uncle.
D. K. (“Coach” or “Ken”) Shroyer was born in 1898 and grew up in Buckhannon. He earned a degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Professionally he first coached football and basketball at Buckhannon High School before moving on to coach at Western Maryland College, McDaniel College and Franklin and Marshall College. In 1928, he was hired as football coach at New River State College, which later was renamed West Virginia Tech.
In all of these venues, he was noted for his tremendous winning record. While at New River State, he never lost a home game.
In 1933, Mr. Shroyer came to Beckley with another New River State faculty member, George Hartman; along with Grover Hedrick Sr., they founded Beckley College. Ken served first as executive vice president of Beckley College and as president from 1960 to 1968. He died in 1974 and was named posthumously in 1975 to the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Dr. Gravely’s mother was Mrs. Shroyer’s sister. Alma was born in 1905 in Fayette County, but soon her family moved to Mabscott where they lived for many years. She went to Concord College and Marshall College to gain her teaching credentials. After her marriage in 1940, she and Mr. Shroyer lived in Beckley. Alma was public school teacher in Raleigh County for over 30 years, finishing her career teaching third grade at the old Institute Elementary School on Park Avenue.
Dr. Gravely noted, “If I could be said to have a second set of parents, they would be the Shroyers. They had no children of their own, and I was very close to them. While the items mentioned above represent the basic facts of their lives, I cannot begin to express the selfless devotion Mr. and Mrs. Shroyer both had to education and to the youth of Beckley and our entire region.
“I believe it fitting and proper that they both be permanently memorialized in the Alma Davenport Shroyer and D.K. Shroyer Memorial Scholarship so that their legacy of service and involvement with our youth and with education will not be forgotten.”
Income generated by this permanent endowment shall be used annually for a need-based scholarship to be awarded to a resident of Raleigh County who has successfully completed two semesters of post high school college level work, demonstrating his or her ability to do this work and maintain good academic standing. Recipients may be enrolled at any accredited college or university.
As with all BAF endowments, anyone may make additional donations in any amount to this fund. There are others who may wish to honor the Shroyers’ contributions to our community. Mail or deliver gifts to Beckley Area Foundation, 129 Main St., Suite 203, Beckley, WV 25801. For information about starting a named fund at the Foundation, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-253-3806.