Pay It Forward: 1941 Alumna Makes $2 Million Commitment

Sadie "Puff" Gravely Hampson '41 is long-time supporter of student initiatives.

Sadie Puff Gravely Hampson '41
Sadie “Puff” Gravely Hampson ’41

A 1941 Randolph-Macon Woman’s College alumna who helped pay her way through college by waiting tables in the dining rooms has made a $2 million commitment toward Randolph College’s planned Student Center renovation.

The gift by Sadie “Puff” Gravely Hampson ’41, a long-time supporter of the College, kicks off fundraising for a $5 million renovation of the Student Center. The project is currently in the design phase.

Puff’s gift is another opportunity for her to support the school that had a profound impact on her life.

“I’m often asked about my favorite memories from my R-MWC years,” she said. “The honor system, to me, was one of the great things about the College. I loved playing basketball, the faculty, and the many lifelong friends I have from the school. It is a unique and special place.”

After graduation from R-MWC, Puff taught high school before accepting a job with a DuPont nylon plant in Manassas, Virginia, which was producing nylon material for the war effort. She enjoyed her job but felt called to join with friends who were enlisting in the military.

She served as an officer in the Navy through the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and was stationed in Buffalo, New York. It was there that she met her husband. “I always teased Bob that I outranked him, even though it was only by three months!” she laughed.

After the Navy, the couple married and raised five children in Detroit, where Bob became an executive at Ford Motor Company. Throughout their lives, the Hampsons have remained staunch supporters of the College. In addition to the Gravely-Hampson Global Studies Fund, which provides stipends for students going abroad, the Hampsons funded many other College initiatives, including the Hampson Lecture Hall in the Martin Science Building. Bob, who died in 2009, also served as a trustee from 1971–77.

“Randolph College is fortunate to have the support of R-MWC alumnae like Puff Hampson,” said John E. Klein, president. “We are so very grateful for Puff’s commitment to the College and to our students and our community.

The generosity of Puff and her husband Bob will continue to make a difference at Randolph College for years to come.”

Puff is proud of Randolph College and sees her gift to the Student Center project as a way to improve the quality of student life. “She loves being involved with her college,” said Puff’s daughter, Jane. “It means a lot to her to be able to do this in her lifetime.”