Betty Sams Christian
The Child Health Advocacy Program (CHAP) at the University of Virginia is named in honor of Betty Sams Christian, a role model for women in business and for compassionate care of those in need.
In 1982, at the age of 60, Mrs. Christian stepped up to run her family's business, the Central Coca Cola Bottling Company, Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. For 21 years, as President and Chairman of the Board, she successfully managed this enterprise. She stood up to "big Coke," refusing to amend her company's bottling agreement so that her companies would continue to be supplied with syrup made from cane sugar rather than from corn syrup. She maintained a profitable and independent corporation while always caring for her employees and those in need.
Mrs. Christian encouraged other women to pursue business careers and she supported the organization of the Women's Bank in Richmond.
Mrs. Christian was always willing to help those in need, and those who knew her best remember countless times when she unassumingly reached out to help someone who needed a helping hand.
Through the generosity of her foundation - the Burford Leimenstoll Foundation - the UVA Child Health Advocacy Program has been generously endowed. (Read more at UVA News Today; Virginia Law Weekly). Mrs. Christian's legacy in caring for those in need and her memory will continue to be honored in the ongoing work of the Child Health Advocacy Program as it reaches out to help central Virginia families in need.
Mrs. Christian was born in Staunton, Virginia. She received a B.A. degree in Physics from Hollins College and a Masters in Social Work from Colombia University. She died in 2006.