When Goldie Zimberg (B.A. ’72/H&S) moved to Richmond in 1951 with her husband, the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate degree became a reality. While her husband, Yale, completed a surgical internship and residency program at the Medical College of Virginia, she raised their family of three small children but dreams of pursuing a degree in the humanities never faltered and she enrolled in the College of Humanities and Sciences during the school’s evolution from Richmond Professional Institute to Virginia Commonwealth University. What she found at VCU was a culturally and racially diverse community and the chance to engage in small class settings that allowed her to forge close relationships with professors and fellow students. While attending as an older student, Goldie felt as though she was an especially valuable contributor to class discussions and debates given her perspective as an older student and mother.
Following graduation, she went on to earn a Juris Doctorate in 1980 from University of Richmond and built a successful career as an estate attorney. Now in her eighties and retired from law practice, Goldie’s pride as an alumna is stronger than ever. Her VCU diploma hangs prominently in her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as a reminder of her determination and success. Knowing firsthand the extra effort required to earn an undergraduate degree as a non-traditional student, Goldie was inspired to establish a scholarship to support students that begin or return to school later in life. The Goldie S. Zimberg Scholarship will be awarded based on the applicant’s promise for academic success, capacity to graduate, and a statement on how the scholarship will make an impact on their life. Former dean of the VCU College of Humanities Jim Coleman applauded Goldie’s generosity in providing this special opportunity at the time she established the scholarship. “A college education, as it did for me, can open one’s eyes to opportunities they might have never previously imagined and can propel one on a trajectory towards a deeply meaningful life and career yet the financial costs can be the largest obstacle for so many people to pursue their dreams in college,” Coleman said. “Scholarships remove that barrier. They are the most effective way to remove the barrier for talented, hard-working and dedicated students to pursue their dreams and experience the transformational power of a university and to take advantage of all a university has to offer.”
Goldie hopes the new scholarship will inspire and encourage the pursuit of those same educational goals that she achieved four decades earlier. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to give back and provide other non-traditional, older students with the chance to study at VCU. With the rising costs of tuition, I know scholarships are more important than ever.”