Rio Grande College Receives Largest Donation in History

Mrs. Marjorie Jean Stanley—Courtesy photo

Mrs. Marjorie Jean Stanley—Courtesy photo

By Laura Nelson

Sul Ross-Rio Grande College has received the largest donation in the school’s 28-year history thanks to Marjorie Jean Stanley who bequeathed over $500,000 to RGC to be used for scholarships.

A widow since 1987, Mrs. Stanley had established the Sandra Stanley Coleman Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of the couple’s only child following Sandra’s death in 1992. Sandra’s husband, Wayne, passed away only two weeks after his wife, leaving Jean with no close relatives.

At the time of her death, Sandra Coleman was the Director of Student Affairs, the first person to fill the position, at what was then known as Sul Ross State University-Uvalde Study Center. She worked under Dr. Frank Abbott, the dean of the college, who said, “Mrs. Coleman was the first staff member other than faculty that I employed at the Uvalde Center. She built student affairs where there had been nothing. It was a difficult time, and she had nothing to go on. Under her leadership, the student affairs area grew into a thriving organization. Upon her untimely death, the student organization she developed had grown to where it could survive until she could be replaced after a lapse of almost one year. I could not have carried on without her leadership.”

Jean Stanley made Uvalde her permanent home in 1996 when she was 83 and even though she maintained a fierce independence, she and next door neighbor Mary Ann Arnim maintained a close relationship. Mrs. Arnim remembers Jean playing bridge, attending church regularly, and driving until right before she passed away. She said with a chuckle that Jean could barely see over the dashboard and she allowed Mary Ann to drive her to San Antonio to shop.

Jack and Alice Hunnicutt got acquainted with Jean when she visited Sandra and Wayne during the time they lived in Junction. Pastor Hunnicutt served the Presbyterian church there and the friendship continued in Uvalde. He recalls Sandra as an accomplished organist and said Jean played piano by ear. Sandra asked the Hunnicutts to take care of Jean in case anything happened to her, and the couple said, “Jean was a very special person to us and we are grateful to Sandra for ‘assigning Jean to us’ before she died.”

Mrs. Stanley passed away in November, 2012, in Uvalde at the age of 99. Alice Hunnicutt said that Jean was very interested in helping students, and her generous gift to Rio Grande College will ensure that opportunity remains available for years to come.

Dr. Paul Sorrels, Associate Provost/Dean at Rio Grande College, added, “The Sandra Stanley Coleman Memorial Scholarship has already assisted many deserving SR-RGC students. This very generous additional gift will greatly increase the number of students who will be able to realize their educational aspirations.  We are deeply appreciative and grateful to Mrs. Stanley.”