The Spencer Educational Foundation, Inc., established by the Atlanta Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), is celebrating 25 years of service to supporting risk management education at the university level. In that time, the Foundation has granted 278 scholarships amounting to $1.7 million benefiting 57 educational institutions in the United States and Canada.
The Foundation will honor Dr. Ellen Thrower, executive director of the Risk Management and Insurance Department at St. John’s University and former president of the College of Insurance, which has since merged with St. John’s, at a 25th Anniversary Dinner in September 2004 in New York for her service to risk management education.
In addition to the scholarship money, the Foundation has given $169,000 in Risk Manager In Residence grants, a lecturing series of volunteer risk management professionals on campuses throughout the country; $140,000 to the Anita Benedetti Student Involvement Program, which recognizes exceptional risk management students by supporting their attendance at the RIMS Annual Conference and Exhibition; $126,000 in internship awards; $45,000 in Part-Time MBA scholarships; $30,000 to Indiana State University’s Summer Workshop for high school students; $300,000 to the University of Georgia for an executive conference on enterprise risk management and $175,000 to Georgia State University to create a mini-MBA program.
The Spencer Educational Foundation, Inc. was named for the late Robert S. Spencer, a former RIMS president and vice president of Risk Management for Fuqua Industries. Spencer’s commitment to youth and education was exemplified by establishing the RIMS Student Involvement Program, later renamed the Anita Benedetti Student Involvement Program.
An active member of RIMS, he held offices at the chapter and national level and served as RIMS’ president in 1977-78. His untimely death prompted his colleagues and the Atlanta Chapter to create a Robert S. Spencer Scholarship Fund in 1979. The first three scholarships of $750 each were awarded in 1980.
Seeing an opportunity to establish a foundation affiliated with RIMS, former Executive Director, Ron Judd, and the Atlanta Chapter decided to transfer the Robert S. Spencer Memorial Scholarship Fund from Atlanta to New York.
In 1984, the foundation was renamed the Spencer Educational Foundation, Inc. and is administered by a volunteer board of directors consisting of risk managers and members of the insurance industry.