Charles and Norma Carroll, longtime Huntington residents and benefactors to Marshall University, have made a generous financial commitment to the Marshall University Foundation Inc. to support scholarships and other university projects close to the couple’s hearts. The bequest, which is in their wills in the form of a planned gift, will bring their total contributions to Marshall to at least $1 million.
“This major commitment from the Carrolls will support 14 different programs across the university,” said Dr. Ron Area, Foundation CEO.
Among those programs, Area said, are eight scholarships and six endowments. The scholarships are for students in the School of Art and Design; the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; the School of Pharmacy; the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy; the College of Liberal Arts; the College of Information Technology and Engineering, and the Big Green Scholarship Foundation, including both golf and baseball.
The endowments are for Arts and Media’s Global Horizons program; the Honors College; the Graduate College, the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy and the College of Business.
“It is an opportunity for us to give back to an institution that was so important in helping to develop our future,” Charlie Carroll said. “We have had a love affair with Marshall for many, many years. We are thankful that Marshall provided us the opportunity for a college education and a degree without having to leave Huntington. It was also strongly active in helping to provide an economy that would help support my independent insurance agency—that put a roof over our heads and food on our table. We appreciate the commercial influence that Marshall University has on our community.”
The Carrolls both are graduates of the College of Business. They met during their years as students at Marshall and later married. He pursued a career in property and the casualty insurance business, while Norma enjoyed her career as a homemaker. Charlie sold his business in 2004 and retired.
“Having grown up in Huntington, I remember all too well the many commercial and industrial businesses that were so prominent. Now, all those firms are gone, except for Inco (now Special Metals). Our population was 95,000; now, our population is about 50,000. Without Marshall, I’m afraid Huntington would possibly be a ghost town, because, even though we have two outstanding health providers, they could not support Huntington, nor have the financial impact of Marshall. I wish more people understood that and thanked Marshall with more financial support because it is a great college and learning institution that is getting better and better and better every day. Without Marshall, I think that Huntington would be dead in the water.”
Charlie Carroll is extremely impressed and grateful for what Marshall did with the former Stone & Thomas building downtown.
“Who else besides Marshall could have taken on this task of building, renovating and remodeling this building at a cost of 14 million dollars?” he said.
Over the years, the Carrolls have been loyal supporters of Marshall University, both in academics and athletics. From 1987 through 2004, Charlie did not miss a football game, home or away. He attended the I-AA championship games and all the bowl games in which the Herd played during those 17 years. Norma missed just three games during that span.
“They’re the perfect example of loyal fans and generous donors,” Area said.
Photo: From left, Dr. Ron Area, CEO of the Foundation, the late President Stephen J. Kopp, Norma Carroll and her husband, Charles Carroll, sign the scholarship and endowment agreements the couple will fund during a ceremony Dec 11. Photo by Rick Haye.