Estes’ endowment affords opportunity

$1.5 million gift to fund scholarships at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business

estes.jpgJean Berger Estes ’75 and Robey Estes ’74 believe that scholarships change lives and have the power to attract top students to William & Mary — students who will go on to make a positive impact in the business world. 

The couple recently made a commitment of $1.5 million to William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business to help attract high-caliber students to W&M now and into the future. The couple established the Robey and Jean Estes Business Scholarship Endowment, which will provide need-based scholarships support to business students.

The Estes know the impact of giving firsthand. Their son, Webb Estes ’06, M.Acc. ’07, received a scholarship to attend William & Mary.

“Webb received a Master of Accounting scholarship based on his academic achievements,” Jean Estes said. “We think it’s important to help people with scholarships support in order to attract the best and brightest to the business school.”

The Mason School has created more than 50 new scholarships during the For the Bold campaign, making a business education accessible for students. The business school was recently ranked No.1 for learning for the second year in a row by BusinessWeek.  

“We are enriched by the Estes’ continued care for William & Mary,” said Raymond A. Mason School of Business Dean Larry Pulley ’74. “Their generosity allows us to provide our students with a transformative educational experience and to prepare them for lives of principled achievement.”

William & Mary has a special place in the Estes’ hearts. The couple met in Millington Hall in February 1971 and have remained connected to the university ever since. It’s this lifelong connection to the university that has guided their service to alma mater.

“We think the business school is such an important part of what makes William & Mary a world-class university,” Rob Estes said. “Dean Larry Pulley ’74 and the staff have done an exceptional job to enhance the programs that we have today and to bring the business school to the level it is with its competition. We couldn’t be happier to make this gift.”

The couple has continually given to the university through their time, talent and treasure, including major gifts to the Estes Challenge and the 1693 Scholars Program. The Estes Challenge, which is designed to encourage increased annual giving, supports students and faculty in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business by funding scholarships, career development services and undergraduate initiatives. The Estes 1693 Scholars Endowment provides full financial support for highly talented students to attend W&M. 

The Estes, who serve as co-chairs for the Richmond For the Bold regional campaign committee, are members of several boards at the university. Jean is a member of the Campaign Steering Committee and the Society of 1918 and has also served as co-chair of the Class of 1975’s 30th Reunion Committee. She is an emeritus trustee of the William & Mary Foundation. Rob is a member of the Campaign Steering Committee, the W&M Business School Foundation Board and previously served on the Class of 1974’s 30th and 40th Reunion Gift Committees. 

The Estes’ recent commitment aligns with the top priority of the For the Bold campaign, which is to raise funds to provide scholarships for W&M students.

“Whatever little bit we have done to support the institution, we’ve gotten much more back in the feeling of being part of something larger than we are,” Rob said.