As a native and lifelong resident of eastern North Carolina, the late Geraldine Mayo Beveridge '39 knew firsthand how important East Carolina University and the education it provides are for the region and its citizens. And, as a teacher for 40 years, Geraldine knew the necessity of an education. Now, after her death, her commitment to education will continue to benefit students for generations to come.
Upon her death in May 2008, Geraldine left $1.5 million from her and her late husband's estate to establish the Captain David L. and Geraldine Mayo Beveridge Scholarship. The scholarship will go to students from Ocracoke High School, New Bern High School, Pamlico High School and East Carteret High School that attend or plan to attend East Carolina University.
"We are very honored and humbled to receive this generous award from Mrs. Beveridge," says Greg Abeyounis, ECU assistant vice chancellor for development. "As a retired teacher from eastern North Carolina, she knew how important education was to this region and believed her alma mater was the best place for deserving students to receive a college education. Both David and Mrs. Gerry lived their lives modestly so that there would be valuable resources left for others. Her life was committed to education and their legacy will endure forever at East Carolina."
Alice and Wiley S. Mayo, Geraldine's parents, helped instill in her a commitment to education. Geraldine and her four siblings all attended East Carolina, with four earning either an undergraduate or graduate degree. Geraldine graduated from ECU in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science in home economics. She decided to attend East Carolina in part because it provided a self-help program to assist with the cost. After graduating, she taught in Wilson, N.C., until she met and married the late Capt. David L. Beveridge. They married in June 1945 and moved to David's native Carteret County, where Geraldine taught home economics until her retirement in 1979.
David's father was a captain of a freight sailing vessel, and David followed in his footsteps. He captained many vessels, including a 120-foot vessel in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. After leaving the Coast Guard, he worked as a captain of the vessels Eastward, Dan Moore and ferryboat Cedar Island before his death in the late 1970s.
A year before her death, Geraldine consulted her brother, Hiram Johnson Mayo '44, about leaving part of her estate to ECU. "I told her, 'You earned it. If I was in your shoes, I would give every dime of it to ECU. Their students have so much need,'" he says. "I am proud to be her brother and proud of her decision."
Because of that decision, generations of students will have the chance for an education they may not have been able to afford. "She always wanted to help others above all else," Hiram says of Geraldine. "I'm very proud of her."
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