UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Katharine Smith Reynolds Scholarship turns 50

When the Reynolds Foundation bet on Alyssa Sanchez’s success, the odds were in their favor.

“Gambling on my ability to succeed has further fueled my drive to do more,” said Sanchez, a Katharine Smith Reynolds Scholar majoring in biochemistry (pre-pharmacy) on track to graduate with full honors in 2019. “Achieving is the least that I could do to repay the Reynolds Foundation for all that they have done for me.”

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the first graduating class of Katharine Smith Reynolds Scholars at UNCG.

Since its inception, more than 500 Katharine Smith Reynolds Scholars have graduated from the university. Through the receipt of this award, these scholars have been provided the tools they need to excel within and beyond the classroom, serve their communities and become exemplary leaders.

Sanchez said that without this life-changing scholarship, it’s likely she would not have attended UNCG.

“For many students today, it is only through a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid and loans that earning a college degree is even possible,” said Jane Taylor Brookshire ’67, ’70 MED, a Reynolds Scholar who established her own endowed scholarship fund for undergraduates. “I know the impact that a scholarship and the decision to attend UNCG had on my future success. I want those same opportunities for today’s students.”

In 1962, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Trustees established a merit-based scholarship program at UNCG, then Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, to commemorate the life and legacy of alumna Katharine Smith Reynolds – wife of R.J. Reynolds and mother of Z. (Zachary) Smith Reynolds.

The first scholarships were awarded to women, all residents of North Carolina, in their freshman year (1963-64). The scholarship was expanded to male students in 1980, effective 1981-82 academic year. In 1997, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation pledged $5 million to the university over 10 years. $4.3 million of the pledged amount was to fund the Katharine Smith Reynolds Scholarship Endowment and $700,000 was reserved for support of out-of-classroom learning activities such as travel abroad, research and service projects.

Dean Omar H. Ali of UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College, which awards the Reynolds Scholarships, described its impact:

“Reynolds Scholars embody the best of North Carolina’s students. High-achieving, community-engaged, globally minded and forward-looking, our scholars develop as leaders in their respective fields of study, refining their academic and social skills through innovative pedagogy, research and experiential learning opportunities in the Honors College.”

Scholarships are competitive and awarded to students on the basis of superior achievement and potential, qualities of leadership, evidence of interest in others and motivation toward useful purposes in life. Reynolds Scholars receive four years of generous funding and are eligible to receive stipends for community service involvement, participation in an internship and study abroad.

“Affiliation with the Reynolds Foundation has provided opportunities for me to grow as a student and leader,” Sanchez said. “Having the financial and supportive backing from the Reynolds Foundation has encouraged me to do more.”

By Elizabeth L. Harrison, University Communications and Shaheen Syal (Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation)

Photography by Martin Kane