William & Mary celebrates record number of scholarship donors

So many extraordinary students have been able to overcome financial barriers and attend William & Mary, thanks to the generosity of thousands of donors who gave to scholarships this fiscal year (FY).

In FY16, a total of 5,318 donors gave to scholarships, collectively contributing more than $68 million. Of the 5,318 scholarships donors, 1,111 are new. This marks the highest number of donors in the university’s history to give to scholarships, which is the top priority of the For the Bold campaign.

“For a lot of students, William & Mary is out of reach financially,” said Anne H. Charity Hudley, associate professor of education, English, linguistics and Africana studies and director of the William & Mary Scholars Program. “They don’t initially think William & Mary is even an option because they think they can’t afford it and then they get a scholarship that makes it possible for them to attend. The generosity of donors truly makes the dreams of students feasible.”

The W&M Scholars Program awards four-year merit tuition scholarship to high achieving students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Charity Hudley is also the co-director of William & Mary Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE). WMSURE is an undergraduate program that focuses on supporting underrepresented students as they conduct undergraduate research and prepare for graduate school.

“Scholarships really impact the life of the student, but in actuality they really do impact William & Mary’s contribution to the world,” Charity Hudley said. “When we are able to make sure we have strong students as part of our student body, that’s a benefit to the institution. Without a scholarship, they might not have been able to attend the university and contribute richly."

In a letter, W&M Scholar Syeda Tabassum ’17, a chemistry major, writes that the scholarship she received created a path for future success.

“I am able to pursue my dreams and reach far beyond because of the assistance you have provided,” Tabassum wrote. “Education is a gift, and I am eternally grateful for the gift you have given me.”

Tabassum, who volunteers at Matoaka Elementary School, wants to be a science teacher.

“Private support is fundamental to meeting the critical needs of students who may have missed out on a high-caliber education due to financial constraints,” said Matthew T. Lambert ’99, vice president for university advancement. “The extraordinary generosity of donors allows our country’s brightest students to have access to a William & Mary education.”

W&M Scholar, Abigail Barnes ’17, has a double major in international relations and French & Francophone studies. Barnes said she chose her major because she enjoys learning foreign languages. In fact, she most recently learned to speak Russian.

“I am grateful for the chance to receive a quality education, be part of a supportive and constant community and flourish into more of myself,” Barnes wrote in a letter. “The people I have met during my time at William & Mary have had a deep impact on my life, and have caused me to be a better person in many different ways and on many levels. I have explored my heart out at the College and this has not only given me a huge contentment with my time here, but also skills I can take to my future jobs to positively impact others.”

Several students spoke about the impact of receiving scholarships in a video — check it out here.