Darryl Stephens, a senior at Armstrong High School in the urban center of Richmond, will be a member of the incoming class of 2011.
p. Stephens, a foster-child who aspires to be a pediatric neurosurgeon, is on his way to earning a college education thanks to Gateway William and Mary.
p. Introduced by President Nichol Aug. 26, 2005, Gateway William and Mary offers exceptional in-state students who would otherwise not be able to financially afford college a way to attend the College without having to take out loans.
p. The program allows these students to graduate college debt-free. The aid package, worth $50,000, will cover tuition, room and board, textbooks and fees. About 45 incoming freshmen will receive similar packages, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
p. When Gateway William and Mary was first introduced, President Nichol told William and Mary News his goals for the program.
p. “William and Mary is determined to live up to its heritage to be both great and public,” Nichol said. To do so, we must ensure that Virginians from all backgrounds can enjoy the benefits of our programs. This innovative effort is in keeping with Thomas Jefferson’s aspiration that ‘worth and genius [be] sought from every condition of life.”
p. President Nichol presented Stephens, 17, with the full-aid package to the College.
p. “This is a very generous package from us,” Nichol said to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We’re investing in this young man.”
The College called Stephens at his high school for what he assumed was a college admissions interview. When he arrived to the conference room, however, he was awarded the financial aid package instead.
p. Among the many people to congratulate Darryl were Virginia State Senator Benjamin J. Lambert III and Louis W. Sullivan, George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, who had traveled from Atlanta to applaud Stephens, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Sullivan and Senator Lambert are chairman and vice-chairman of the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance, a group whose aim is to increase the number of minorities in the health-care profession.
p. With the help of the Virginia-Nebraska Alliance, Stephens was put in contact with Partnership for the Future, which first piqued his interest in the College.
p. Along with the distinguished guests who shared in the moment, Stephens was also greeted by familiar faces. An assistant principal who shared her home with Stephens before he moved into a group home last year and a director from Owens & Minor, a supply-chain solutions company that Stephens has worked for the past three summers were also present, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
p. “It’s a dream come true,” Stephens said as he clasped his letter.
p. According to William and Mary News, the applicant pool for the class of 2010 was the most diverse ever with 2,179 students of color applying to the College. This is an increase of over one hundred applicants compared to last year’s pool.
p. “[The College] is hoping that we can continue to be creative in terms of how we reach out to a variety of audiences and populations across the Commonwealth and across the nation,” Associate Provost for Enrollment Earl Granger said.