Rob Colley, R’68, honored his former roommate and lifelong friend by establishing the Gerald Thomas Massie Scholarship.

A Tribute to Valor, Friendship, and Generosity

November 29, 2023
The Gerald Thomas Massie Scholarship honors the legacy of friendship

Fun. Charismatic. Intelligent. These are just a few words Robert Colley, R’68, uses to describe his friend Gerald Thomas Massie, R’68, L’76, affectionately known as “Tom” to those close to him.

“Tom was quite a character,” Colley said, recounting stories of Tom teasing buddies and giving bear hugs. “He was a good student, had plenty of interests, and he had a nickname for everybody. He usually had some kind of a smirk on his face, which meant either he'd done something outrageous or he was going to.”

The two were roommates their first year at University of Richmond, remaining friends throughout college and into their adult lives. After completing his studies, Tom entered the Army, where he went on to become a Sergeant and serve as a platoon leader in the infantry during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal with the “V” device and third oak leaf clusters – honoring his valor and heroism.

Following his military service, Tom returned to Richmond for law school and during his career, ultimately went on to become president of the Piedmont Bar Association. At the time of his passing in 1993, he was serving Goochland Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney.

With deep admiration for his friend's leadership, bravery, and all-around zest for life, this year, Colley established the Gerald Thomas Massie Scholarship, that will support veterans who are pursuing legal education at Richmond Law.

"He was truly a remarkable person,” Colley said. “His vibrant personality and ability to connect with people left an impression on everybody he met.”

“He was headed toward an upstanding future in his career before his death,” Colley continued. “Ideally, we're hoping we can carry his legacy forward by helping a veteran who can use assistance in their law school education."

In the same way that their antics as young undergraduates sparked a lifelong friendship, Colley hopes that this scholarship will be the spark for others to give. Those inspired by Tom's story are invited to contribute to the scholarship, to amplify its impact and reach.

This scholarship is not only a financial support system for student pursuing legal education, but a living tribute to a man whose life was a celebration of friendship, bravery, and the joy of living each moment to the fullest. Contributions to this scholarship will carry forward this legacy ensuring that Tom’s impact endures for generations to come.

“What we have, we don’t own,” Colley said. “We pass it on.”

Gerald Thomas Massie, R’68, L’76 and his family.