|Virginia Abrams and Don Devilbiss, Acting Dean|
Abrams spent 40 years of her life working in both the public and private sectors as a secretary while focusing her personal life on raising her three children and then pitching in with their children. Once her two grandchildren were grown, Abrams decided the time was right to work toward completing her bachelor’s degree. A widow at 31, Abrams never felt the time was ideal to return to school while her children were young.
“I honestly never thought I could have balanced it all without dad around to help with the children,” Abrams said. “In hindsight, I probably could have done it, but I went for it later in life, and now I’ve finally accomplished that lifelong goal. I hope to serve as an inspiration to young mothers who have multiple children and think that they could never go for a degree.”
Abrams has spent her life dedicated to Chester’s Calvary Baptist Church, volunteering with the church’s feeding program and missionary circle among other things. She was taught that giving was part of a fulfilled life, and at Widener, she has continued to find ways to serve others despite a full course load. She joined the Widener Reads initiative in 2010 and 2011, acting as a math and reading tutor to third grade students at Lakeview Elementary School in the Ridley School District. Recently, she helped to plan and promote University College’s Annual Day of Giving Back, during which more than 45 volunteers planted trees, painted, weeded and mulched around the grounds of Elwyn Inc. in Media, Pa.
In addition, Abrams completed training in 2011 through the Delaware County Domestic Abuse Project. She currently participates in DAP’s Education and Outreach Program, which involves providing support to elementary school counselors and participating in community health fairs throughout the county.
“When I graduate, I may go on to get a master’s, but my ultimate goal for my second career is to do some sort of nonprofit work in the city of Chester,” Abrams said. “I’d love to immerse myself in the revitalization of this city and possibly help with the needs of our elementary schools. Pursuing my educational goals at Widener has made me tenacious, and I’m ready to make some inroads and start making a difference.”
Abrams earned the AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship for two consecutive years while at Widener and also received the 2012 Dean B. Armold Award, which is an award given to a graduating University College student who has rendered significant service to University College and/or the community by demonstrating the Widener University mission of professional and civic leadership. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, the honor society for continuing education students; Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society; and Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective academic honor society.