Meet our donors

Elizabeth Roderick and John T. Kneebone, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Roderick and John T. Kneebone, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Roderick (M.P.A. ’18) met her husband, John T. Kneebone, Ph.D., when they both worked at the Library of Virginia. Kneebone began teaching in VCU’s history department in 2003, where he is now an associate professor emeritus. Kneebone co-authored “Fulfilling the Promise: Virginia Commonwealth University and the City of Richmond, 1968-2009” with VCU President Emeritus Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D. The book tells the story of VCU from its founding in 1968 through the end of Trani’s tenure as president in 2009, and the university’s role in Richmond.

In 2014, Roderick decided to pursue additional education opportunities and Kneebone suggested she consider VCU’s Wilder School. She went on to earn two post-baccalaureate certificates and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from VCU.

“Between the two of us, we became very enmeshed in all things VCU,” Roderick says. “We are big VCU basketball supporters and have lifelong friends at the school.”

As a library administrator for more than 20 years, Roderick had seen firsthand the importance of a space where information and resources are readily available and patrons have the opportunity to connect with faculty, staff and students.

“I believe a library should be the heart of a university,” Roderick says. “It should be a welcoming gathering space for students and a place where they can easily get the help they need to produce their best work.”

Roderick worries that libraries are facing ever-increasing costs that threaten their ability to provide the resources that students need. She describes libraries as essential institutions that need help to stay up-to-date, provide for students and run efficiently. Both Roderick and Kneebone feel it is important to do what they can to support VCU Libraries and help make sure future generations of students can benefit. To that end, the couple has established a planned gift to provide funds for the Dean of Libraries to use at their discretion.

“We know from our time working in libraries that all sorts of things come up requiring immediate funding. We wanted to make sure those funds are available when they’re needed,” Roderick says. “We decided on the dean’s fund to make sure VCU Libraries leadership has a choice in how the money is used. We trust they will use it in the best way possible.”

As the couple considered where and how they would make their gift, they spoke with the VCU Libraries team extensively. It was important to Roderick to identify the areas of greatest need to inform their decision regarding their gift. VCU’s planned giving team also helped the couple navigate the process so they felt confident they had completed every necessary step to set up their gift correctly.

The result of this planning and consideration is a gift Roderick and Kneebone know will support VCU Libraries and allow them to continue supporting VCU students, staff and faculty.

“Giving can provide a sense of nurturing,” Roderick says. “We like to give to the places that nurtured us when we needed it. Then we feel like we’re nurturing the new students who are coming through the building to get the services we appreciated so much.”

Virginia Commonwealth University* Donor Elizabeth Roderick and John T. Kneebone, Ph.D.