The success of Dr. Joe and Susan Nolen Story has come full circle with the Florida couple giving back to the college that was a pivotal influence not only for them, but also for their family.
Snead State Community College received a $2 million donation from Dr. and Mrs. Story as a show of their appreciation of “the time and experiences we had at Snead State.”
“We look forward to (having a role in) the continuing growth and prosperity of Snead State Community College,” said Dr. Story.
In honor of the Storys’ generous contribution, Snead State is hosting a celebration on Monday, May 16, from 3-5 p.m. at what is now known as the Dr. Joe and Susan Story Administration Building, located on the Boaz campus at 220 North Walnut Street.
“We are honored the Storys chose to renew their relationship with Snead State. Their generous donation will be used for various projects and improvements across the campus. We will also seek ideas and input for future projects from the Story family. I believe this is a partnership that will continue to reap benefits for the College and our students,” said Snead State Community College President Dr. Joe Whitmore.
The Storys’ experience at Snead State is similar to many students who come to the College. For Dr. Story, his scholarships and work study opportunities helped him to go to college.
“I was working to help my single mom pay the bills for the two of us and my sister, Mary. I had always dreamed of being a physician, and Snead offered me an opportunity and hope at a critical time in my life, without which I may not have been able to go to college,” he said.
After his two years at Snead State, Dr. Story graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in biology and then earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anesthesia from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He eventually earned his medical doctorate (M.D.) and served as chief resident in his final year of residency with UAB.
“If I could have completed all of my college work, including medical school, at Snead, I would have,” Dr. Story said. “My entire family attended Snead, and Snead played a critical role in my mom starting with her GED and eventually achieving a Master’s Degree in Library Science,” he said.
Margaret Pritchett Story was working three jobs, but Snead State offered her the flexibility to continue her studies while supporting her family. During her career as a librarian, she was named Marshall County “Teacher of the Year” on three different occasions.
Snead State’s library, located inside the Administration Building, will now be known at the Margaret Story Library in honor of her sacrifice, hard work and commitment to education.
Susan Nolen Story also came from a family who did not have a lot of money, and she bore the responsibility of paying her way through college.
“I took a full load of courses while also working at the Sand Mountain Reporter to earn money for school,” she said.
Mrs. Story spent 15 months at Snead and achieved two years of college credits before transferring to Auburn University and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in mathematics – something she did in just over two years.
“I received such an incredibly strong education from my calculus and physics professors at Snead that my work study job at Auburn was tutoring math and physics,” said Mrs. Story.
Mrs. Story is the daughter of another Snead State alum, her father Tom Nolen. Mr. Nolen also began with a GED and worked for a little more than minimum wage while taking some academic and technical certification classes at Snead on the G.I. Bill. He eventually earned enough education and training to qualify for a higher skilled welding and pipefitting job and to make additional money to support his family.
Snead State will also honor Mr. Nolen once the College completes construction on a new Workforce Training Center, to be located on the campus of Marshall Technical School. A training lab in the Workforce Training Center will be named for Tom Nolen in recognition of his support for career and technical education.
“As we look back at those people, events and institutions that helped make our American dream possible, we both think about Snead and how thank we are for the opportunities the College gave us,” said Dr. Story.
“We believe it is important for us to give back and, hopefully, help provide opportunities for others facing life’s challenges in the way we did – and to have a shot at their dreams just as we did,” said Mrs. Story.
The Storys took their education and their dreams and built successful careers that have opened up chances for them to make a difference in their communities across the U.S.
Dr. Story is a highly accomplished physician, medical innovator and serial entrepreneur. He practiced medicine for more than 30 years before he retired in 2003. The current CEO of Story Enterprises, he has participated in the development of over $3 billion in healthcare, biologics and medical ventures. He designed and developed the internationally recognized Andrews Institute for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine with world-renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews and Baptist Health Care System, serving as its founding President of Research and Education as well as Chairman of the Surgery Center. He was a partner in the development of “The Blake” award-winning assisted living and memory care facilities across the Southeast and was a founding board member in MiMedx, the largest public biologics company in the U.S. He also developed Tri-care Rehabilitation Centers, the Portofino Medical Spa (created and led the Executive Physical Program) and the Columbiana Clinical Research Company, which was recognized for national and international drug trials.
Mrs. Story is a highly accomplished and successful leader in business, policy insights and strategy. She served as CEO and CFO of American Water Works, Inc., the largest water utility in the U.S., headquartered in New Jersey, before retiring in 2020. She was one of only 23 female CEOs of S&P 500 companies during her six-year CEO tenure. Prior to American Water, she worked for Southern Company for 31 years, starting as a nuclear power engineer for Alabama Power Company and serving in her last two jobs as President and CEO of Gulf Power Company in Pensacola and then as President and CEO of Southern Company Services in Atlanta. She currently serves on the corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies Raymond James Financial, Dominion Energy, and Newmont Corporation, and is a founding board member and current advisor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Board Advisory Council. She serves on the Moffitt Cancer Center Board of Advisors in Tampa, FL, and remains involved in Auburn University education efforts. She is a member of the Florida Council of 100 CEOs and Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100.
Through their Story Family Charitable Fund, the Storys are also a co-funding partner with the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation and the American Water Foundation on the roll-out of Joyner-Kersee’s “Winning in Life” program to children in five underserved communities throughout the U.S., as well as co-funding their local community’s First Responder Emergency Fund and other charitable efforts.
“We often speak on the value of a community college education, but Dr. and Mrs. Story are examples of how far a community college education can take you. Through their example, they show our students that their success is only limited by how hard they are willing to work and by how big they are willing to dream,” said Dr. Whitmore.
The Celebration for Dr. and Mrs. Story will include a special ceremony at 3 p.m. in Fielder Auditorium located in the Administration Building. A reception will follow the ceremony. The community is invited to attend.