Educators donate $750,000 to support teacher training and research at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A husband and wife who have spent their careers teaching have extended that service into the future with a donation of $750,000 to Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development. John and Leta Shelby Wimpey, alumni of Peabody College, made the donation to commemorate their lifelong commitment to education and to honor the memory of their daughter LeAnn Wimpey, also a teacher, who died in 1982 at the age of 29.

The donation was announced at the annual Peabody College Educator Honoree Dinner Nov. 16 at the Student Life Center on the Vanderbilt campus.

“The lives our graduates touch after leaving this institution can’t be counted, but we know that they are bettered,” Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, said. “By establishing the Wimpey Family Graduate Fellowship and the Wimpey Family Speaker Series with this donation, John and Leta Wimpey are creating a lasting legacy that will continue to impact future generations of educators and the many students that they will inspire.”

The Wimpeys came to Peabody College in 1950 and together completed four degrees over the course of nine years. Mr. Wimpey received his master of arts, master of education and Ph.D. and Mrs. Wimpey received her master of arts while working full-time. The couple spent the bulk of their careers after graduation in Atlanta-area schools, where Mr. Wimpey served the Georgia Department of Education for 35 years as an administrator and principal and Mrs. Wimpey headed the English departments of several schools.

“John and Leta Wimpey truly exemplify the distinctive character of Peabody College,” Benbow said. “Between the two of them, they have given 87 years to the cause of education, and now they are giving more.”

For more Vanderbilt news, visit

Media contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

Explore Story Topics