By Darla Martin Tucker

It took numerous mini campaigns and dozens of phone calls to his former La Sierra College classmates, but fundraiser Norman Vance and fellow class members got the job done — the Class of 1960 Endowed Scholarship Fund reached its $100,000 goal in April.

Vance, a business graduate of La Sierra College, now La Sierra University, held a successful career in sales and fundraising that encompassed running his own stock brokerage firm, holding positions with several hospitals including AdventHealth in California, and with former stock brokerage firm PaineWebber & Co. The achievement of reaching a philanthropic goal that will benefit the lives of La Sierra students for years to come, however, was particularly impactful. “I was elated. I thought it was fantastic,” said Vance, adding that no other La Sierra class had raised such an amount.

The class established the endowed scholarship fund in 2000 during its 40th reunion and set a $100,000 fundraising target. The fund’s returns since 2005 when it reached the minimum for an endowment has helped approximately two La Sierra students each year with their tuition needs. With Vance in the lead, over the years the class continued raising money. By their 50th reunion in 2010 they had garnered $57,000 and aimed for the full goal by this year’s Homecoming in April, their 60th reunion. While Homecoming events had to be canceled due to the current pandemic, the class is nonetheless celebrating their success which will benefit many students going forward.

Vance, now a Greenville, Tenn. resident, earned bachelor and master’s degrees at La Sierra College after spending two years at Pacific Union College. He enjoyed his life at La Sierra which involved playing football and developing close camaraderie with his classmates. “It did a lot of good for me,” he said. “I felt La Sierra offered what I wanted.” One of his sons and his daughter-in-law also graduated from La Sierra University.

The Class of 1960’s fundraising accomplishment was among the reasons the entire class, composed largely of doctors, dentists and other professionals, was collectively named the 2020 College of Arts & Sciences Honored Alumnus, an unprecedented designation. The award is typically given each year to an individual alumnus in recognition of his or her impacts within their professions and society. The College of Arts & Sciences noted that the decision to issue a group award rested on the class’s notable dedication to their alma mater in achieving the large endowed scholarship by their 60th reunion, their collective professional achievements and their commitment to each other – members of the class have faithfully produced a class newsletter each year for 60 years, apprising each other of their life events since they graduated from La Sierra College.

Just after graduation in 1960, Class Vice President Jerry Davis and his spouse Sylvia Clark Davis began the annual newsletter and oversaw its production until 1970. Class President Byron Hallsted and spouse Nancy Everett Hallsted took over the newsletter production until this year when they published the 60th and final newsletter. Copies of the Class of 1960 newsletters fill four binders and can be viewed in the La Sierra Alumni Office or at the Library Heritage Room.

“The commitment of this class of alumni to their alma mater and to each other is so inspiring,” said former La Sierra University Alumni Director Julie Narducci in May. “Their decades-long dedication has resulted in helping many students reach their educational goals and has ensured that many others will also be blessed with scholarships. As such, we are delighted to present the College of Arts & Sciences Honored Alumnus award to this impactful and accomplished group. We are so grateful for their generosity and their example.”