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Giving Story - One

A Family Affair

Terry Griffin is a man who understands the value of family. He grew up in Kannapolis, N.C., surrounded by a large family and a community where everyone always pitched in to help. Whether keeping an eye out for neighbors’ children or supporting one another in emergencies, he and his parents could always count on the family and the community to help out.

“My upbringing instilled in me an appreciation for teamwork and community,” Griffin says. “I have always had support to help me be successful. In my business career, I have seen how much can be accomplished with a group of committed, talented people working together. I saw the power of that support network when I was in school, and I think the need for that support may be even greater today.”

Griffin, WSSU class of 1979, has been involved with the school since childhood. “Speaking of family, WSSU has been a part of my family since birth,” he says. “Some of my best childhood memories are of my extended family coming to games and tailgating. I have about 20 members of my family who are Rams.”

His teachers, classmates and fraternity brothers at WSSU became part of his “community” just like those friends and neighbors in Kannapolis. “Those relationships impacted my future,” Griffin remembers. “My professors convinced me I could be successful in business, and that led me to a 33-year career with Altria. My fraternity brothers encouraged me and convinced me I could achieve my goals. I look back on those experiences and know that I would not have had the success and happiness I’ve had without all of those people behind me.”

Not long after graduation, Griffin joined the local WSSU alumni chapter in Atlanta while he was working there for Altria. He has been actively supporting the school ever since. Griffin is a life member of the WSSU National Alumni Association, a member of the Board of Directors of the WSSU Foundation and has worked on various committees for the university.

Helping financially is one of the most important parts of supporting the mission of the school, Griffin believes. “When I was in school, the vast majority of my classmates needed financial aid. Well, that hasn’t changed. Recently, our Class of 1979 alumni group raised $51,000 to commemorate our class. We all recognized our responsibility to help the current students, given all the help we had received.”

Griffin believes that giving back is part of his responsibility as part of the WSSU family. “WSSU is an integral part of my family, and I believe being part of a family means giving back. I’m proud of my school, and glad I can have an impact on it and help new Rams be successful. After all, isn’t that what all of us are committed to? Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve. Go Rams!”

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