A new scholarship has been endowed at Vance-Granville Community College by Rehoboth United Methodist Church, carrying on the legacy of a Granville County native and educator.
The church, located in Vance County between Henderson and Oxford and less than five miles from the college’s Main Campus, received a bequest from the estate of Marie Wilson Thomson. A onetime church member who passed away in 2014 at age 87, she is buried in Oxford and left portions of her estate to several area churches.
Thomson, a schoolteacher who began her career in education in Stovall before teaching for 30 years at an elementary school in San Diego, California, left instructions that the bequest be used to benefit high school seniors entering their first year of college. Church leaders decided that one way they would use the funds would be to create a scholarship at VGCC. The church’s contribution to the college represents approximately 10 percent — in religious terms, a tithe — of the sizable Thomson bequest, the remainder of which will be awarded as scholarships to youth in their congregation. The VGCC scholarship will be awarded in the church’s name as a Presidential Scholar Award, the college’s largest, most prestigious level of endowed scholarship.
“We wanted to help our whole community,” said Donald Clayton, the church’s lay leader, of the VGCC endowment. “A scholarship like this can provide hope for a student and maybe change their lives.”
In awarding the scholarship, preference will be given to residents of Granville or Vance counties who are enrolling as full-time students at the college immediately after graduating from high school and meet certain academic requirements.
“We are honored that the members and leaders of Rehoboth United Methodist Church have entrusted us with a gift that will support students for generations to come,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “It is a truly fitting tribute to the generosity and vision of Mrs. Thomson, who devoted her life to education.”
Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 8,500 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.