The theme of this year’s William & Mary scholarships luncheon was past, present and future, with an emphasis on storytelling from several students and alumni whose lives have been transformed by the power of scholarships. So many in the crowd of more than 400 donors and scholarship students left the luncheon saying they felt inspired, hopeful and energized — wanting to hear more about how For the Bold’s top priority is impacting the trajectory of so many lives and the future of the university.
In remarks at the Oct. 19 event in the Sunken Garden, President Katherine A. Rowe announced that she will be leading the charge in William & Mary’s Affording Opportunity scholarships effort, in which the university is seeking an additional $100 million to meet its $350 million scholarships goal. Underscoring her commitment to this initiative, Rowe said she and her husband, Bruce, have created a scholarship for students in great need of financial support.
“We decided last spring to make the largest philanthropic commitment we have ever undertaken: to establish a scholarship so that students who deserve to be a part of our William & Mary family, but do not have the financial means, are afforded the opportunity to do so,” Rowe said. “In creating this scholarship, we find great meaning and look forward to the day that we can sit next to those students at this luncheon, and hear their stories, because of our gift.”
Since the start of the campaign, more than 18,200 scholarships donors have collectively provided scholarships support to over 700 students. Several of these students are featured in the video that was shown during the luncheon.
Alicia Draper ’20, a first-generation college student, is attending William & Mary on a full scholarship. An American studies major and finance minor from McLean, Virginia, Alicia leads organizations across campus, including Smart Women Securities and Lazarus Rising. Draper also recently interned at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York City. She wants to work in finance after graduation.
“I always wanted to go to college. However, financial constraints made it difficult to fathom such an opportunity … I am extremely honored to have had an opportunity to learn at this institution. I always wanted to go to college — the seemingly impossible became possible thanks to my scholarship,” Draper said.
Jessica Laury ’19, an out-of-state student, considered transferring to another university because she didn’t know how she was going to fund her education. With the help of a scholarship she was able to stay.
“My scholarship didn’t pay for my entire William & Mary experience, but it was enough,” Laury said. “It was enough to make my William & Mary education possible. My scholarship said to me, you belong here, that W&M had seen me, accepted me and now was going to support me. It reminded me that I wasn’t just a student, but that I was a part of the Tribe family.”
Another scholarship recipient, Kia Butts Hardy ’05, M.Ed. ’08, was able to pursue her childhood passion of playing basketball through an athletics scholarship to William & Mary. Hardy said that her scholarship afforded her the opportunity to receive a world-class education. Hardy is the interim dean of students at Tidewater Community College’s Norfolk campus.
“Everything great in my life has come as a result of basketball,” Hardy said. “It brought me to Williamsburg, and it gave me William & Mary. Doors have opened that I never planned or imagined. I developed a direction for my life. I gained connections to people I’ll know, love and remember for life. And I owe this one amazing opportunity, that created all of this greatness in my life, to donors like you who made it all possible.”
For more information about Affording Opportunity and giving to scholarships go to https://forthebold.wm.edu/priorities/where-great-minds-meet/scholarships/.