Student Perspectives

  • Gateway Student Lamar Shambley
    Gateway Student Lamar Shambley
    Financial assistance from Gateway William & Mary brought Lamar Shambley to campus and Lamar helped bring medical relief trip to the Dominican Republic.
    Photo Courtesy of Lamar Shambley

When he was weighing options for college, Lamar Shambley ’10 had his heart set on attending a university close to a large city. A resident of Norfolk, Va., Shambley sought to reconnect with the vibrancy, excitement and diversity he knew growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. He also wanted to pursue acting and figured a city atmosphere would provide more opportunities for work on the stage.

Shambley ultimately chose William & Mary because the College offered him a more competitive financial aid package.

To reach a larger number of promising students, in 2005 the College initiated Gateway William & Mary, an innovative financial assistance program that is making the College more accessible to students like Shambley.

“William & Mary’s ability to remain competitive depends on programs like Gateway, which broaden our scope and allow the brightest minds to attend regardless of need,” said Rector Michael K. Powell ’85, D.P.S. ’02. “It is indeed a program worth supporting.”

Gateway William & Mary not only opened Shambley’s eyes to the College, and now he sees himself in a different light.

“The financial assistance from William & Mary is the main reason I enrolled. But now I would not change my decision for the world,” he says. “I wanted to be an actor and take advantage of big city opportunities. But at William & Mary, I’m more focused on myself as a person and I’m more focused on serving the needs of others.”

In January 2008, for instance, Shambley joined the Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability for a weeklong medical relief trip to the Dominican Republic, where he helped in an effort to serve more than 400 patients.

“It was a valuable college experience,” he says. “I discovered that the William & Mary community is something that is just as powerful off campus as it is on campus.”

He has also spent his spring break working in soup kitchens and homeless shelters in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., areas. On campus, Shambley has served as a student leader, giving campus tours to prospective students, organizing a hip-hop concert and speaking on a panel with other Gateway William & Mary students.

Shambley, who is fluent in three languages, is majoring in Hispanic studies and linguistics. He has also participated in CPALs, a group of students at the College that teaches ESL to Latino members of the Williamsburg community. He is considering a career as a translator — perhaps for the United Nations or for an international business.

Thanks to Gateway William & Mary and to the generosity of alumni and friends of the College who support the program, Shambley and many other students are able to do what they set their sights on.