SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke College’s former president and first lady demonstrated their love for science and education with a multi-million dollar gift to fund future campus plans.

According to Roanoke College’s marketing and communications team, Dr. David Gring and Susan Gring — who were president and first lady at the Salem school from 1989 to 2004 — have committed to an approximately $3.5 million gift to support student research.

The gift is also meant to help fund the construction of the college’s plans for the Science Center, which has already raised $50 million toward its $70 million goal.

State-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces are included among the plans for the facility, as well as renovation to other buildings and a plaza that will be named the Dr. David M. and Susan D. Gring Plaza.

“The science building is something, I confess, I wanted to have happened during the time we were there, but it was not to be,” David said. “President Maxey and Terri have brought a renewed enthusiasm for this project, and we are delighted to be able to contribute. It will be a transformational life-changing facility when complete.” 

The Science Center is expected to house psychology, biology, and environmental studies majors, with one-third of all campus courses are expected to be taught there.

“The new Science Center will impact every student at Roanoke College and the Grings’ donation gets us that much closer to making the Science Center a reality,” said current Roanoke College President Michael Maxey.

Both David and Susan consider science a big part of their lives. More specifically, David had a career as a biology and genetics professor prior to being president of Roanoke College, and Susan served as the executive director of the Carilion Foundation, raising money for programs to improve the health and welfare of western Virginian communities while serving as the first lady of Roanoke College.

“Dedicated faculty and a community that cares — those are two of the reasons we are contributing to Roanoke College. Life has been good to us; Roanoke College has been good for us. So, we decided to contribute to something we love,” said Susan.

For more information about the Science Center, visit