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The Passing of Trustee Emeritus William “Bill” J. Fanney

Involved with Virginia Wesleyan since its founding, he first served on President's Council and later, Board of Trustees

University News | May 22, 2024

The Virginia Wesleyan community is saddened to share the passing of longtime VWU Trustee Emeritus William “Bill” J. Fanney at the age of 100. Involved with Virginia Wesleyan since its founding, Mr. Fanney served on the President’s Advisory Council and later as a member of the Board of Trustees. In 1989, Bill’s son, Dr. Thomas R. Fanney '76, became the first VWU alumnus to return as a member of the full-time faculty. Following his son’s passing in 2005, Bill established the Thomas R. Fanney Distinguished Professorship in Mathematics, an endowed professorship at Virginia Wesleyan. Thanks to Mr. Fanney’s foresight and generosity, Tom’s legacy as a dedicated alumnus and outstanding professor will continue to live on.     

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Mr. Fanney was a generous supporter of education and a great believer in its importance. He spent more than 46 years in the banking industry, including 27 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of Life Savings Bank before retiring. He was a founding member of the Tidewater Builders Association (now the Coastal Virginia Building Industry Association), served on the Board of the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation, and held many leadership roles in the banking and housing industry. 

Mr. Fanney also served on the Boards of Westminster Canterbury Hampton Roads and its Foundation in addition to a number of other civic and charitable organizations in Coastal Virginia. Bill was also an active member of Virginia Beach United Methodist Church where he attended services for more than 75 years. 

Mr. Fanney remained steadfast in his support of VWU and continued to serve as a Trustee Emeritus until his passing. There will be a celebration of life on June 1 at 2:00 p.m. at the Princess Anne Country Club.