Third-year College student Morgan Stearns has been awarded the University's Gray-Carrington memorial scholarship, which includes paid tuition, room and board for one year.
The scholarship, established in 1971 in memory of Arthur P. "Pete" Gray IV and expanded in 1987 to include Edward C. Carrington Jr., memorializes two outstanding alumni whose achievements have served as an inspiration to others.
The award is given to a student who excels in personal integrity, achievement, leadership and humility.
“I still cannot believe [the committee has] chosen me from the other amazing finalists,” Stearns said in an email statement. “It really could have been any one of us and the group [of finalists] that was chosen this year was truly remarkable.”
Patricia Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, said the decision to award the scholarship to Stearns’ selection was made through a confidential selection process by a committee of students. These students represent the organizations Carrington and Gray were involved in while they were students, as well as the growth and the diversity of the University.
“The student committee accepts nominations and confidentially researches the individuals to send a group of seven final nominees to the trustees [of the scholarship foundation],” Lampkin said in an email statement.
Following a dinner with the trustees and former scholarship recipients, the seven finalists are then interviewed by the panel of trustees in February. After a decision had been made, the scholarship award was presented to Stearns at the annual Alumni Award banquet held this month.
The scholarship is funded from an endowment set up by the Trustees for the Gray-Carrington Foundation, Lampkin said.
“The endowment has come from gifts to the scholarship from friends, family, former recipients and alumni over the years,” Lampkin said.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Stearns serves as a goalkeeper on the Virginia women’s soccer team. Stearns said while balancing academics and soccer is not an easy task, she was drawn to the University’s strong standing in both areas.
“Really, it was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come here to have access to an amazing sports school and a top academic school,” Stearns said. “So it's really not easy, but with [the] support of the people around me including our academic staff, teammates and professors, it's been well worth it.”