In this season of Thanksgiving, Ellen Lanford Asherman ’85 and her husband Philip have stepped forward with a generous and inspiring challenge for Converse alumnae and friends.
Their gift is a personal tribute to the positive influence Converse has had in Ellen’s life. The education she received, the faculty mentors who shaped her both personally and professionally, and the lifelong friendships she forged left an indelible mark upon Ellen that has contributed to her success in her career, her family and her community.
Recognizing the central role the Converse Annual Fund plays in enabling Converse to fulfill its mission, Ellen and Philip have taken the bold step of issuing a $50,000 challenge gift to inspire others to join them in supporting Converse students. For each donor who increases her/his support of the Converse Annual Fund from the 2008-2009 fiscal year or who makes a new gift, Ellen and Philip will match the increased or new amount up to $50,000 – in effect doubling the impact of the new contribution.
“With each passing year, I appreciate more and more how much my relationship with the College and my classmates means to me. Philip and I believe strongly that Converse’s mission of educating women for personal and professional success builds a better future for us all, and we hope this challenge encourages others to support Converse,” Ellen says.
Born in Charleston, SC, Ellen moved to Spartanburg at a young age with her family, Dr. and Mrs. Cecil F. Lanford, and her two sisters, Jane and Sarah (who is also a Converse alumna from the Class of 1987). After earning her BA in finance from Converse in 1985, Ellen began her career as a one of the first female stock brokers with E.F. Hutton in Atlanta. A few years later, she returned to Spartanburg and worked for Flagstar Corporation, responsible for site selection of new franchises throughout the U.S. until 1996.
Ellen and Philip were married in Spartanburg in 1994 and lived in the U.S., Chile, and Singapore before settling near Houston, TX in 2001 when Philip accepted a position with CB&I, a multinational technology, engineering and construction firm. He was appointed CEO in February 2006.
Today, Ellen, Philip and their three sons – Lucas Kent, age 13, and twins Hugh Turner and Philip Lanford (Turner and Ford), age 9 – are proud Texans who maintain close Spartanburg ties. Ellen and Philip are members of The Woodlands United Methodist Church and active supporters of various public school programs, including Philip’s service on the Board of Overseers for the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Ellen’s active support of Converse.