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Wilson Scholars Program

Accepting qualified applicants for full-ride, merit-based scholarships

More than 40 years ago, Carole Wilson dreamed of becoming a public school teacher. Today she credits a North Carolina Teacher Scholarship Loan for her ability to pursue that dream. She and her husband, Brad Wilson, both Appalachian State University graduates of the Class of 1975, know that now, more than ever, paying for a college education can be a struggle.

“I personally know the benefit of financial support,” Carole Wilson said.

That’s why the Wilsons have chosen to pay it forward by making a $3 million contribution to Appalachian, the largest ever made by alumni. Their contribution established the Wilson Scholars Program, which will offer high-achieving incoming freshmen a merit-based, full-ride scholarship beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. Applications are currently being accepted.

“For many students, the Wilson Scholars Program will eliminate the financial barrier to a high quality, comprehensive college experience,” Carole Wilson said.

“We are fortunate to be able to make this commitment,” Brad Wilson said. “Our Appalachian experience is the reason that we can.”

The Office of Admissions encourages eligible high school seniors to submit applications for consideration as members of the scholarship program’s inaugural class. The deadline for application submissions is Nov. 15. Applicants chosen for the interview process will be notified in early January.

Selection for the scholarship, the most prestigious at Appalachian, will be based not only on academic achievement but also community involvement and civic engagement.

In addition to receiving a full-ride scholarship, Wilson Scholars will also receive a stipend each year for research and/or internship experiences. Additionally, students will have the chance to participate in specially designed seminars, engage in international experiences and design capstone projects.

“Through Brad and Carole’s vision and generous financial support, Appalachian now has a premier scholarship program, which offers incredible opportunities for scholarship, research and leadership for those who receive it,” Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock said. “Over the years, their commitment to this university and public higher education has been evident in so many ways.”

Brad Wilson is president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. A former chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, Wilson received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2005 and the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2001. He also has served on Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Council.

Following graduation from Appalachian, Carole Wilson taught history in the public schools, worked with students with learning disabilities and was a private tutor. Although she no longer teaches, Wilson continues to influence the lives of children in the Triangle area. She is a member of the boards of the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Safechild, N.C. Museum of Art Foundation, Carolina Ballet, Durham Nativity School and the Action for Children-NC advisory board.

To honor the Wilsons for their commitment, the new honors and student leadership and residential hall complex on campus was named the Brad and Carole Wilson Honors and Engagement Community in March 2013. Appalachian will leverage the Wilsons’ commitment to secure other gifts that will support the scholars program.

For information about how to apply to the Wilson Scholars Program, visit http://wilsonscholars.appstate.edu.