On Oct. 11, a ceremony was held for an important milestone in UNCG history: the 50th anniversary of the first graduating class of Katharine Smith Reynolds scholars. Founded in 1962, the scholarship was created by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to honor Zachary Smith Reynolds’s late mother, Katharine. She attended the State Normal and Industrial School, which is now UNCG, from 1897 to 1899. Later in her life, she married tobacco mogul R.J. Reynolds and became an active philanthropist, donating money to various North Carolina organizations.
Since its implementation, the Katharine Smith Reynolds scholarship has produced over 500 graduates. The award was initially meant solely for women, but the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation voted to include men in 1980. The scholarship currently covers partial cost of its recipients’ attendance at UNCG and provides stipends for studying abroad, internships and community service. Only incoming freshmen in the Lloyd International Honors College (LIHC) from North Carolina are able to receive this award. Additionally, the scholarship is 1 of 34 Blue and Gold scholarships at UNCG. These are the largest and most prestigious financial awards for UNCG students.
Dean of the LIHC, Dr. Omar Ali, spoke on the significance of the Reynolds scholarship for its recipients.
“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.”
Alyssa Sanchez, a junior majoring in biochemistry and a Reynolds scholar, explained that the scholarship not only was the reason for attending UNCG, but has pushed her to greater academic heights.
“Affiliation with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has provided opportunities for me to grow as a student and a leader. By having financial support of my goals in community service, studying abroad, and internships, I have been able to strive and achieve far more than I imagined coming into my undergraduate career,” said Sanchez. “It’s difficult to describe how motivating it is to have someone financially ‘bet’ on your successes. Achieving is the least I could do to repay the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for all that they have done for me.” Sanchez plans to graduate in 2019 with full honors.
At the ceremony, in attendance were the first class of Reynolds scholars. Dr. Lloyd “Jock” Tate, President of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, spoke on the design and impact of the scholarship from its inception.
“Katharine Smith Reynolds was an extremely visionary, forward-thinking woman, who played an integral role in laying the groundwork for the way in which the foundation has approached its work for decades,” said Tate. “The Katharine Reynolds scholarships have provided educational opportunities for so many students, and have also been an important way to honor the life and legacy of such an influential individual in the Foundation’s history. We are grateful to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for all their work to oversee these scholarships for 50 years and are glad to be a partner with them in this endeavor.”