A native of Pocahontas, Virginia, who now lives in Daleville, Virginia, Dr. Sproles recently established the Alvah Vernon and Bertha Mae Sproles Endowed Memorial Scholarship in honor of his parents and as a means to support students just like him.
“My hope is that this scholarship will offer advantages to students in the area where I grew up,” said Dr. Sproles, who attended Pocahontas High School before enrolling at Bluefield College, “and it’s particularly important to me that it benefit students who otherwise may have difficulty obtaining their educational goals.”
While a student at BC, Dr. Sproles studied biology in preparation for medical college. He also was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. After BC, he attended the University of Richmond and the Medical College of Virginia, before being called to serve in World War II.
After the war, Dr. Sproles came back to southwest Virginia to practice general medicine. He later returned to the Medical College of Virginia to take a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, before opening an OB/GYN practice in Bluefield, West Virginia. His career also includes medical practice in California. He retired from medicine in 1985 and returned to live again in southwest Virginia.
His parents, the late Alvah Vernon and Bertha Mae Sproles, for whom the Bluefield College scholarship is named, were lifelong residents of Pocahontas. Alvah Sproles worked for the Pocahontas Fuel Company, where he eventually became president. He was also an active lobbyist for legislation related to mine safety, compensation insurance, and hospitalization for employees of the mining industry. In addition, before his death in 1979, he served as a consultant and bank director.
“He had many good characteristics that made him loved and respected by all who knew him,” said Dr. Sproles about his father. “He will always be remembered for his benevolence, kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness for others.”
Bertha Sproles was a strong supporter of her husband’s interest and an active civic leader. In fact, she remained involved in community activities in Pocahontas until her death in 1993 at the age of 102.
The Sproles Memorial Scholarship is designed to help students from southwest Virginia or southern West Virginia, “who are of good moral character and who are serious and dedicated to their education.” The scholarship is an endowed scholarship fund, which means it and the tribute to the Sproles will last forever.
“With endowed scholarships, the seed gifts are invested, and earnings from that principal are made available as scholarships,” said BC’s Annette Tabor, associate vice president for advancement. “The original seed or principal amount remains indefinitely, and annual scholarship gifts are given as a tribute to the Sproles forever.”
For information about the availability of Sproles Scholarship funds or details on how to establish your own endowed scholarship at Bluefield College, please call 276-326-4211, email [email protected], or visit the BC web site at www.bluefield.edu/giving.
“It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Sproles in setting up this scholarship in memory of his parents,” said Tabor. “We are very blessed to have alumni, like Dr. Sproles, who understand the importance of giving back in order to help young men and women meet their potential.”