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People rebuilding

About Ralph and Karen Thurman

Karen and Ralph Thurman

Ralph Thurman is a highly decorated ex-USAF combat pilot, 30 year chief executive officer in the biotech industry, philanthropist, family man, and a long-standing pillar of the community. He has been chairman and/or director of numerous private, public and academic organizations and recipient of many awards recognizing his accomplishments. Recently, he was named to the advisory board of the Villanova University Law School Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurialism.


Mr. Thurman has led numerous fundraising efforts for local and international charities. Most recently, he has provided funding for the acquisition and renovation of a home housing seven single mothers and their children. 


Karen Thurman has long been involved in countless charitable interests in addition to being a mother to three and grandmother to six. She is the inspiration for The Giving Tree Foundation and has been involved with such organizations as A Better Chance, Friends of Kwa Zulu Natal, Chester County Fund for Women and Children, The Gifft Hill School, St. Leo’s School for Zulu children, an Aids and TB clinic in South Africa as well as a school for over 80 orphans. Mrs. Thurman was recognized by Cardinal Wilfred Napier, Cardinal of South Africa, for her charitable efforts in that country.


Mr. and Mrs. Thurman are longstanding supporters of Virginia Tech. They are members of the university's Ut Prosim Society, its most distinguished recognition society. In addition, they created the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Thurman Family Endowment, which funds three student scholarships. 

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