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Former governor's family gives $1 million estate to PHCC
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The Stanleytown Estate has been donated by the Chatham family to Patrick Henry Community College. Pictured are (from left) Christopher Parker, the college’s vice president for institutional advancement; family member Stan Chatham; college President Angeline Godwin; and PHCC Foundation Chairman Gary Collins. (Contributed photo)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The family of a former governor has donated an estate in Henry County valued at about $1 million to Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC).

The Stanleytown Estate is on a little more than an acre at 44 Old Meadow Road. The property contains a greenhouse and a roughly 11,000-square-foot home and courtyard, college officials said.

It was donated by the late Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham’s family. Chatham was the daughter of the late Gov. Thomas B. Stanley and his wife, Anne Pocahontas Bassett Stanley, and the granddaughter of John David Bassett, founder of Bassett Furniture Industries.

The estate is the third largest donation ever made to the college, said Christopher Parker, executive director of the PHCC Foundation.

Parker, who also is PHCC’s vice president for institutional advancement, said the Chatham family’s decision to donate the estate was in recognition of the college’s 50-plus years of dedication to the community.

The family was “very instrumental in wanting to give a gift to the college,” he told the PHCC Board on Monday.

In a release, Anne Chatham’s son, Stan, said the family no longer lives in the area but remains “very connected and passionate about the community and (they) are honored to give Patrick Henry Community College this gift.”

Members of the Chatham family now live in Florida, Wyoming and California, said PHCC Public Relations and Marketing Manager Kris Landrum.

Stan Chatham recalled that his parents were passionate about education, having set up scholarship programs in Stanleytown and at a local church.

“Education has always been near and dear to them,” he said. “It’s very nice to be able to make this (donation to PHCC) happen.”

The family intends for the college to use the home to host community outreach events, said PHCC President Angeline Godwin.

Functions to be held there will include meetings, networking, appreciation and celebration events, donor dinners, and receptions and special continuing education programs, Godwin said.

The home also will be used as accommodations for invited guests of the college as it is determined to be appropriate, she said.

PHCC Foundation Chairman Gary Collins said the estate also could be used by the college’s horticulture and culinary education programs.

“I am deeply honored (for PHCC) to have the opportunity to use this incredible home for the benefit of the college and the community,” Godwin said. “Our goal is to leverage this asset for the good of our students as we support the college and the community that it serves.”

“This property will be a huge asset to the college,” Parker said.

The college will maintain the estate through a housing allowance of up to $25,000 a year that has been provided to Godwin, Landrum said.

Housing allowances are standard in contracts of Virginia community college presidents, according to Landrum. She added that Godwin agreed to let her allowance be redirected for the estate’s upkeep.

In donating the estate, Stan Chatham said, the family worked closely with Parker, Godwin, Collins and local businessman James “Nubby” Coleman.

Stan Chatham said he thinks the estate is “an automatic fit” with PHCC.

“The first time I drove up to the college, through the beautiful trees and scenery, it reminded me so much of our grandparents’ home in Stanleytown and our home,” he said, adding that the donation “just makes sense.”

“The more we (the family) thought about it,” he said of the donation, “the better we felt about” it.

In addition to the home, the family left a number of antique furniture pieces and collectibles, as well as an art gallery of historic memorabilia that includes photos of Gov. Stanley, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and many other elected state and federal officials, college officials said.

“It’s amazing what you’ll see there,” Collins told the college’s board.

Plans are for the original canvas print of Gov. Stanley that once hung in the Governor’s Mansion to remain in the living room of the estate home.

Values of the furnishings and art have not yet been determined, but an official appraisal will be obtained, officials said.

The two largest gifts previously made to the college were $3.7 million from L. Dudley Walker and his sister, Spotswood Walker Box, used to develop the Walker Fine Arts/Student Center in 1990, and $1.5 million from Kathryn N. Frith to build the J. Burness Frith Economic Development Center in 1999.


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