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Donor Profile: Phil and Betty Roether

Phil and Betty Roether, standing against a brick wall

Betty and Phil Roether married while still undergraduate students at New Mexico State University. “We talked about waiting until we both graduated, but it made sense to combine living expenses so we’d be able to apply for the $75 a month married housing. We were both paying our own ways through college, so that made perfect sense to us,” Betty says. Upon graduation the couple moved to Plano, with Phil hired as an engineer with Texas Instruments and Betty as a Home Economics teacher.

Fast forward to 1999 when both Phil and Betty retired from their respective corporations and chose the Pottsboro/Lake Texoma area in which to retire. Phil retired as a Raytheon Vice President and Betty retired as a Senior Designer for JCPenney’s Women’s Division. Phil’s perspective was “to not retire FROM something; I want to retire TO something.” That “something” saw them both volunteering for a variety of Texoma area organizations.

For both Betty and Phil, the Grayson College Foundation is the organization for which they believe they can impact the most lives. The couple co-chaired the Foundation’s Annual Scholarship Campaign for two years; Betty served as a Board Member and as Board Chair. Phil is currently in his second year as Board Chair. They were recently reminded that it’s been 13 years since they first volunteered.

When asked what moves each of them to create scholarships, Phil relates his mother’s story of asking the family’s local doctor for a loan to go to college. The doctor told her the only way she could pay him back was to “pay it forward.” The Opal Roether endowed scholarship is doing just that for many Grayson students. Betty says many of the students’ stories of need resonate with her, as she sees her financial struggles for an education in many of their stories.

When Phil was asked to cite his favorite aspect of the Foundation, he responded by stating that “it’s the fact that 100% of donor gifts go toward fulfilling the donor’s wishes.” That speaks directly to the Foundation’s mission of “Fulfilling donor wishes through student success.” Betty believes that makes the Foundation good stewards of the funds entrusted to them.

Phil credits the Grayson College Foundation with assisting Grayson College in improving Texoma. By assisting students with scholarships to earn a certification or degree it makes them more employable and creates a ready workforce for businesses looking to relocate.