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John and Susan Small Schloarship Fund


In 1971 two rising seniors from northeastern North Carolina prepared to attend Governor’s School at Salem College in Winston Salem.  There was very little opportunity for gifted education in their area and Susan Jordan, from Chowan County and John Small, from Pasquotank County were excited about this intellectual adventure.  They had no idea that it would change their lives.

They met each other in the Governor’s School social science class.  They became friends over Mayberry’s ice cream, Moravian sugar cake and stimulating intellectual conversations.  As the summer progressed, they fell in love and thus began the relationship that would in time result in four children (one of whom, 32 years later, met her spouse at Governor’s School), six grandchildren and 40 years of marriage and continued conversation.

Governor’s School changed their lives in other ways too.  The interaction with other gifted students from across North Carolina changed the way they saw the world, and their place in it.  For the first time, they had evidence of the many possibilities that were available to them.  The opportunity to engage their minds with exciting new ideas stimulated a new sense of what was possible for their lives.  “Of course, we had dreams,” said Susan “but Governor’s School helped us imagine that those dreams were actually possible and motivated us to work hard to make them a reality.” 

With this sense of expanded possibilities, Susan chose Meredith for college.  She taught high school, pursued a seminary degree, was a stay at home mom and now works as the discipleship director at their church. 

From Left to Right: Susan Small, John Small and Scott Gayle (past president of the NC Governor's School Foundation).

From Left to Right: Susan Small, John Small and Scott Gayle (past president of the NC Governor's School Foundation).

John went to the University of North Carolina and then to the Yale School of Law.  After law school, John joined the firm of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard in Greensboro where he has practiced for almost 40 years.  In 2008 John became Chair of the firm’s Finance Committee and served in that capacity for nine and half years.  John became one of the North Carolina’s first Board Certified Specialist in Business and Consumer Bankruptcy law and has received numerous accolades in his chosen field of law.  He is committed to their church and serves as General Counsel for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Through all the changes of life, John and Susan have carried the lessons they learned at Governor’s School with them—the importance of critical thinking, that listening to other opinions expands your own thinking, and that you never know where an opportunity might lead.


His law partners at Brooks, Pierce are proud of John and pleased to provide the funds to name this Scholarship in his honor.


        To donate to The John and Susan Small Scholarship Fund, please click the button below: