Blazer estate leaves $2 million for scholarships at Maryville College
July 10, 2003
A $2 million bequest from the estate of Conchita Bertran Blazer will endow scholarships at Maryville College for years to come.
Blazer, who passed away Dec. 17, 2002, graduated from Maryville College in 1931. In memory of her late husband, she established the Earl W. Blazer Endowed Scholarship Fund in 1993 and then made provisions for 50 percent of her estate to be added to the fund upon her death.
The remaining 50 percent of the estate was to be divided between the Holston Conference Foundation and the Foundation for Evangelism in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
The College’s $2 million gift is the first distribution from the estate, with a second distribution expected to add and additional $500,000. The Blazer estate gift is the third-largest gift in the College’s recent history. Approximately $4 million was received from the Ralph W. Beeson estate in 1990, and $3.7 million was received from the estate of Finis and Ethel Cooper in 1994.
According to Mark Cate, vice president for advancement and admissions, the College is thrilled to honor Mrs. Blazer’s wishes, granting scholarships to assist deserving students without regard to sex, ethnic background, age or creed.
“ This is a tremendous gift from such a gracious and wonderful woman,” said Cate. “Her faith and her commitment to education were extremely important to her, and she passionately supported both in so many ways.”
Loyal and generous supporters of Maryville College throughout their lives, Earl and Conchita Blazer were charter members of the Society of 1819, which recognizes alumni and friends who have included Maryville College in their estate plans. They were also charter members of the Isaac Anderson Society, with cumulative giving qualifying them for the magna cum laude level. In 2001, Mrs. Blazer made a substantial donation to the Fayerweather Hall rebuilding project to name the Business Office in memory of her husband.
Earl Blazer, a 1930 graduate of Maryville, served as a director of the College from 1957 until 1970 and also served as president of the College’s Alumni Association. In 1961, he was the recipient of the College’s first Alumni Citation.
A well-known and prominent leader in his church and community, Mr. Blazer was the founder, owner and operator of the Earl W. Blazer Insurance Agency for 40 years. He served a term in the Tennessee state legislature and served on the boards of three Methodist Church-related colleges.
Mrs. Blazer also served on the College’s Alumni Board and was active in numerous charities, including the Salvation Army and Knoxville Rescue Ministries.
The Blazers were active members of First United Methodist Church in Maryville.
“Earl and Conchita Blazer were more than dedicated and loyal alumni of Maryville College – they were fine people,” said Dr. Gerald W. Gibson, president of Maryville College. “Earl had passed away a little more than a year before I accepted the presidency here, so I never had the privilege of meeting him, but his leadership on the Board was remembered by many, and Conchita described him so well that I felt that I knew him.
“ The Blazers led by example,” the president added. “Their final gift to the College to endow scholarships means that hundreds of deserving students will benefit from their generosity, foresight and great love of this institution.
“ Earl and Conchita are missed, but they will never be forgotten.”
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2014 semester is 1,213.