Planned Gift a Testament of Couple’s Love for Education and Community

Student Camila Torres smiling.

WINTERVILLE—It’s been eight years since Vannie Rouse passed away at 93 years old and 30 since her husband, Linwood, died at age 78, but the couple’s support for their hometown and higher education continues. 

Through a $400,000-planned gift, the Rouses established an endowed scholarship with the Pitt Community College Foundation that’s keeping their memory alive and helping Pitt County high school graduates achieve their college and career goals. This year, 25 members of the Class of 2023—representing seven Pitt County public and private high schools—received $1,000 each through the Linwood and Vannie Rouse Endowed Scholarship to help pay for tuition and fees. 

“Planned giving is extremely important to our educational mission,” says PCC Foundation Executive Director Beth Sigmon. “By establishing scholarship endowments through meaningful estate gifts, as Linwood and Vannie Rouse did almost a decade ago, donors create a lasting legacy of their values and beliefs and positively impact the lives of generations well beyond their own lifetimes.” 

A Winterville native, Linwood Rouse was a U.S. Navy Seabee during WWII. While stationed off Guadalcanal, he read construction books sent by his father and established the foundation for his livelihood. Following the war, he started Rouse Construction Company and built numerous homes, commercial buildings and churches in the Pitt County area. 

Vannie Rouse grew up in Sanford during The Great Depression. Though she had to drop out of school early to care for her invalid mother and raise her five siblings, she never let her lack of formal education dim her desire for knowledge and success. In fact, it ended up giving her a deep appreciation for the value of learning. 

After marrying in 1969, the Rouses made Winterville their home and became active in church and civic affairs. Linwood, a leader in the Winterville Kiwanis and Ruritan clubs, was a superb cook who used his culinary talents to host large-scale fundraisers. Vannie, who was unable to have kids of her own, became a second mother/grandmother to the children of her many friends, always stressing to the youngsters the importance of a good education and strong work ethic. 

Vannie’s love of learning led her to establish several perpetual scholarships that have impacted the lives of many North Carolinians and will continue to do so for years to come. 

PCC University Transfer student Camila Torres is one of this year’s Rouse Scholarship recipients. The Ayden-Grifton High School graduate says she had no expectation of receiving the award, so when she did, she couldn’t stop telling friends and family about it. 

“I had been discouraged by not receiving any scholarships, so this (was) the light at the end of the tunnel,” Torres said. “I cannot thank the creator of the Linwood and Vannie Rouse Scholarship enough for this opportunity. This scholarship will help me reach my end goals (while) taking a bit of stress off of me and my family.”