On Dec. 2, the School of Education hosted its annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony that brings together donors who provide private scholarships and the students who benefit from them. More than 60 undergraduate and graduate students received scholarship awards as they were seated with donors and faculty in attendance.
The afternoon was an elegant affair that began with a student showcase highlighting the academic research conducted by doctoral students in Counseling Education, Higher Education Administration and K-12 Leadership. All of the students whose research was recognized in the showcase—Amanda Armstrong, Yi Hao, Abbas Javaheri, M. Amanda Johnson, Brian Kooyman, Ramya Avadhanam, and Leah Shy—have received private scholarships. This new portion of the program was an opportunity for donors to see the direct and meaningful impact their philanthropy is having on students.
Dean Spencer Niles officially began the ceremony emphasizing the history of generous philanthropy that undergirds the work of faculty and students who are changing the lives of students and communities through education. Professors Rick Gressard, Michael DiPaola and Leslie Grant introduced the award recipients from the departments of School Psychology and Counselor Education; Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership; and Curriculum and Instruction, respectively. For each scholarship, the professors highlighted the recipients’ backgrounds, extracurricular activities and ambitions.
“It makes you incredibly proud to hear the engagement and ambitions of the scholarship recipients. So many of them are doing and want to do such meaningful work that you can’t help but be happy for them, even if you don’t know them personally,” said M. Amanda Johnson, Ph.D. student in Higher Education.
Niles appreciates the profound commitment donors make to the School of Education. “We are very fortunate to have supporters who care deeply about our work, our students and the future of education,” he says. In addition to providing scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students, private giving supports faculty through professorships, research funds and increased resources for academic innovations. The School of Education’s outreach programs, such as the New Horizons Family Counseling Center and the Center for Gifted Education, also benefit from generous private support.
With For the Bold: The Campaign for William & Mary, the university has embarked on its most ambitious fundraising initiative. Campus-wide, W&M strives to raise $1 billion by 2020. The School of Education's goal is $30 million, of which $15 million has been raised to date. Scholarships are a primary funding priority. Since the start of the campaign, the School of Education has added 17 new scholarship endowments and six additional annual scholarships, for a total of nearly $4 million in private giving designated for student support.
Niles adds, “Our amazing donors put their values into action each year by providing crucial financial support to help our student scholarship recipients achieve their educational and career goals as they, in turn, make an impact upon their schools, students and communities.”
The annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony is a way to say thank you to donors and to allow students to share their William & Mary stories. Niles said, “For me, this ceremony is one of the year’s highlights as we bring our scholarship donors together with those students who are benefitting from our donors’ generosity. The excitement and connections that exist between these two groups are palpable during this ceremony.”