SunTrust Gift supports VIMS graduate students

The SunTrust Mid-Atlantic Foundation has made a 5-year, $100,000 grant to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, to establish an endowed fellowship for graduate students enrolled in the institute’s School of Marine Science.

“SunTrust’s generous donation will greatly enhance our success in drawing the best and brightest students,” says VIMS Dean and Director John Wells. “Because we must compete with other leading marine science institutions to attract top students from around the nation and world, we consider student support one of our most pressing needs.”

Bernard Ngo, City President SunTrust Bank-Gloucester, says “We’re extremely pleased to be able to help provide fellowship support to the students at VIMS. The training they receive, and the work they do, helps us all by leading to a better understanding of the many serious issues facing Chesapeake Bay and the ocean. We’re fortunate to have this internationally recognized institution in our midst.”

The 112 students currently enrolled in the graduate program at VIMS are engaged in cutting-edge research on topics as diverse as oyster genetics, seagrass restoration, nutrient pollution, beach erosion, and the population biology of blue crabs. VIMS graduates occupy leading positions in industry, academia, and government agencies at the local, state, federal, and international levels. The School of Marine Science at VIMS has produced more than 650 Master’s and PhD graduates since it awarded its first degree in 1943.

SunTrust made the gift to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization that supports the education and research missions of VIMS. The gift will provide $17,500 per year from 2008 to 2012 to build a SunTrust Fellowship Endowment Fund, and $2,500 in expendable funds each year during that span to support a current student.

By 2012, SunTrust will have supported a student for 5 years, and the VIMS Foundation will have a SunTrust Fellowship Endowment Fund exceeding $87,500. Income from the fund will help support one or more students far into the future. The SunTrust fellowship endowment marks the eighth such fund received by the VIMS Foundation.

SunTrust Bank-Hampton Roads is part of SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta and one of the nation's largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate, and institutional clients. As of March 31, 2008, SunTrust had total assets of $179 billion and total deposits of $116 billion. The Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries, the Company provides mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, investment management, equipment leasing, and capital markets services.

VIMS is an independent state agency with a mandate to provide research, education, and advisory service to the Commonwealth. The School of Marine Science at VIMS is a graduate school of the College of William and Mary.