Wake Forest University and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation announced today the creation of the North Carolina Leadership Scholarships for as many as 100 students with financial need throughout the state.
“I see these scholarships as a way to ensure that young people of modest means but ambitious goals will be able to come to Wake Forest,” said Stephen L. Neal, foundation president and a former 5th District congressman. Neal was joined by Wake Forest president Thomas K. Hearn Jr. and foundation executive director Thomas W. Lambeth in making the announcement at Wake Forest.
The foundation is giving Wake Forest $200,000 a year to fund the scholarships, increasing its annual contribution to the university to $1.2 million.
The new gift is similar to adding $4 million to Wake Forest’s endowment. Interest from a $4 million endowment would generate at least $200,000 in income each year.
Each scholarship is worth up to $2,600 a year and is renewable for four years. Beginning next fall, up to 25 scholarships will be awarded each year. After four years, up to 100 scholarships will be funded annually. Six freshmen received the scholarship this year.
Wake Forest students receiving financial aid usually are provided a combination of scholarships, grants and loans. Designed specifically for North Carolinians with modest means, the leadership scholarships reduce the amount of money students would need to borrow while enrolled at Wake Forest.
“The North Carolina Leadership Scholarships will enable Wake Forest to remain accessible to our traditional constituency,” Hearn said. Since Wake Forest was founded in 1834, undergraduates from North Carolina have outnumbered those from any other state.
The scholarships are intended to benefit students statewide who have demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence, leadership and community service.
“Wake Forest has much to offer these students,” Hearn continued. “In addition to the strong academic program, opportunities for service abound at Wake Forest.”
Through the university’s Volunteer Service Corps, about half of the undergraduates serve numerous local agencies and participate in campus events to benefit the community. Students continue developing leadership skills through various organizations, including student government and LEAD, a leadership development program that offers leadership courses, workshops and mentoring opportunities.
Neal said the scholarship recipients can gain practical experience in helping others that will prove valuable after graduation.
“I anticipate that these young men and women will pass on their good fortune, when they leave Wake Forest, going out into their communities and making a difference in the lives of others.”
The foundation was established by the R.J. Reynolds family in 1936. The foundation began its relationship with Wake Forest in 1946 with a proposal to move the university from Wake Forest, N.C., to Winston-Salem.
As part of the proposal, the foundation’s trustees pledged an annual grant of $350,000 in perpetuity to the university. In addition, Charles H. and Mary Reynolds Babcock donated land for the new campus. William Neal Reynolds and Nancy Susan Reynolds provided a $2 million challenge grant for building funds. The university moved to the new campus in 1956.
Since the initial proposal, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has provided in excess of $58 million to Wake Forest, including $8 million to the Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
In addition to the $1.2 million annual grant, the foundation has endowed the Nancy Susan Reynolds Scholarships, the Joseph Gordon Scholarships, the Reynolds Professorships and the Wake Forest Professorships. Of the annual grant, $250,000 is dedicated to faculty development, research and grants.
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