ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Scholarship donors and their recipients came together at North Carolina Wesleyan November 1 as the college held its Scholarship Appreciation Gala at The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts. The event recognized scholarship donors who give annually to Wesleyan students, helping them pursue their academic and professional dreams.
“It is always rewarding to bring together this group of promising young people and let our generous sponsors see the powerful impact their commitments are making on these leaders of tomorrow,” stated Eddie Coats, Vice President of Development. “Many of these students would not be able to afford a comprehensive college education without this support.”
Student body president and Heritage scholarship recipient, Will Plyler, spoke about the impact of his award. “I am just a sophomore but my life has been completely changed by the funding that made it possible for me to attend Wesleyan. I now have the opportunity to learn and pursue my passion in life. I am extremely grateful,” said Plyer.
Guest speaker for the event was J. Winston Lea, owner of Action Staffing Group and President of the Gravely Foundation. In 1945 as World War II was ending, the children of Rocky Mount businessman J.O.W. and Lula Keen Gravely created the Gravely Foundation to honor their parents’ philosophy that every child should have the opportunity to advance themselves through education. Over the last four decades, the Gravely Foundation has provided approximately $803,000 to support students and programming at Wesleyan. In his speech, Lea encouraged students to give back to their communities, churches and colleges. “One thing that I have learned on this journey of life is whatever you give, you will receive back tenfold,” stated Lea.
Wesleyan presented its prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to Lloyd Nelson ’67 and Elliott Stevenson Nelson ‘66. The award honors the excellence in character, leadership, community service and spiritual values of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, a lawyer, scholar and orator. While at Wesleyan, Lloyd was a stand-out on the hardwood as the basketball program’s first Most Valuable Player during the college’s inaugural season in 1963-1964. He went on to become a two-time All-Conference selection and earned MVP rights again his senior year. The Nelsons have been very involved in Wesleyan over the years and Lloyd served on the Board of Trustees from 1997 to May 2018.
“The Nelsons have given tirelessly and generously to Wesleyan over a long period of time,” stated President Dr. Dewey Clark. “Their love and dedication to this college and the students we serve is without comparison. There has never been two more worthy recipients than Lloyd and Elliott.”
Each year more than 180 Wesleyan students benefit from the generosity of our donors.