Teresa Golding Roberts Scholarship honors her life and connects her loves
Everyone who knew Teresa Golding Roberts (’80) valued her. She was beautiful and funny – a good person and a great mother who loved children in general but her own most of all. She cherished life, and she treasured her experiences at Wake Forest University.
Too often, however, bad things happen to good people. Teresa’s life was cut tragically short in 2003 by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a relentless and progressive neurodegenerative disease for which there is very little treatment and no cure. Many know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease or, simply, ALS.
When she died, Teresa – or Resi, as she was known by family and friends – left three children as well as her husband, Jon. She also left a legacy of love that Jon has chosen to memorialize through creation of the Teresa Golding Roberts Scholarship at Wake Forest. The scholarship, to which he has pledged $500,000 and already given an initial gift of $100,000, is for a female student from North Carolina who plans on becoming a teacher. Resi was born in Charlotte and taught sixth- and seventh-grade English prior to the birth of her own children. The first recipient of her scholarship was selected for Fall 2008.
“Teaching is such a noble profession,” Jon says. “If you go to Wake Forest, you can be anything you want; to choose to be a teacher is noble. That’s the way Resi was. I know that many people make academic choices based on the financial aid they are able to get. I want to help someone go to Wake Forest and be a teacher. That would have made Resi very happy.”
Jon, who serves as Chief Information Officer for CVS Caremark, also has honored his wife by helping his employer raise millions for ALS research. Through a customer-donation campaign that was initiated following Resi’s death and the death of a CVS regional manager from the same disease the year before, the company has raised more than $15 million. Jon chairs the project and sits alongside two Nobel Laureates on the board that awards 100 percent of the money raised to ALS researchers around the world. Currently research funded by CVS is ongoing in 12 different countries, including the United States.
Jon and Resi’s three children include Jonathan, who attends Harvard University, and Katherine, a freshman in high school with a strong interest in Wake Forest. Middle child Patrick currently is a student at Wake Forest and had a lot to do with Jon’s decision to create the scholarship.
“Patrick had a very special relationship with his mother,” Jon explains, “so he wanted to go to college where she went – to get a connection with her. He absolutely loves it there, and she would be thrilled. It’s been a very good thing for him; the whole Wake Forest experience has taken him in a positive direction. So, in addition to recognizing Resi, the scholarship recognizes Wake Forest and the impact it has had on her life and Patrick’s life. It will forever connect Patrick to the university and to his mother; it is a connection he’ll value for the rest of his life.”