Virginia Western Presents 2017 Impact Award to Family of Joan F. Brenner

Jay Brenner accepting the 2017 Community College Impact Award on behalf of his mother, Joan F. Brenner.

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation presented the 2017 Community College Impact Award to the Estate of Joan F. Brenner, in recognition of her Legacy Society gift of $50,000 in support of student scholarships. The award was presented March 22 at the Educational Foundation’s Annual Awards Ceremony.

One of the highest honors the College can bestow, the Community College Impact Award serves to recognize significant philanthropic and community support by individuals, corporations or organizations that will provide perpetuating benefits for Virginia Western, its students and the region at large.

A lifelong Roanoke resident and graduate of Jefferson High School, Joan Falkenstein Brenner passed away at the age of 73 on May 30, 2016, after a courageous battle with declining health. Mrs. Brenner was the widow of Bruce Brenner, her husband of 50 years and owner of the family business, Cycle Systems Inc. Her estate is represented by her three sons: Scott Brenner of Scottsdale, Ariz., Jay Brenner of Virginia Beach and Neal Brenner of Roanoke.

Mrs. Brenner’s Legacy Society gift reflects a lifetime of commitment and generosity to her community and her family.

“My mother felt it was extremely important that all of us find ways to contribute to the Roanoke community to ensure its long-term growth,” said her son, Scott Brenner. “This is especially the case for Virginia Western Community College, where both she and my dad saw the importance of an educational institution that offered a variety of services beyond the classroom.”

A lifelong member of Beth Israel Synagogue and Temple Emanuel, Mrs. Brenner demonstrated an indefatigable commitment to the Roanoke Jewish community and the tenets of Judaism. Whether welcoming new members, preparing meals, or serving the Beth Israel Sisterhood, she provided leadership and support whenever and however necessary.

Her strong sense of civic responsibility wasn’t limited to her own religious community. She volunteered for Planned Parenthood, the American Heart Association, served on the boards of Carilion Children’s Hospital and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and charitably supported Virginia Western Community College, The Taubman Art Museum, and CHIP of Roanoke, among others.

A world traveler, Joan was a multidimensional woman who fulfilled an active curiosity with diverse hobbies and interests, including gourmet cooking, opera, avid participation in book and investment clubs, and walks on the Roanoke Greenway.

Virginia Western’s Legacy Society pays tribute to those who have named the Foundation as a beneficiary of a planned gift.

“Joan was an inspirational human being,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western Community College. “Her dedication to Virginia Western and her benevolent foresight in planning for the educational enrichment of our students is a remarkable and indelible gift to the community. So many lives will be forever changed by her legacy.”

For more information about the Foundation’s annual Community Impact Award or Virginia Western’s Legacy Society, contact Donor Relations Coordinator Amanda Mansfield at amansfield@virginiawestern.edu