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$1 Million Donation Establishes Promise Scholarship at Richard Bland College

Hays and Betty Watkins have donated $1 million dollars to create an endowment to fund Promise scholarships at Richard Bland College of William & Mary. Mr. Watkins is the former chairman of CSX and previously served as Rector of the William & Mary Board of Visitors.

The Promise Scholars program, a joint initiative between Richard Bland College and William & Mary, is designed to reduce financial barriers for high-ability, Virginia residents who are PELL eligible. The Watkins Endowment will be used for scholarships for the Promise Scholars program in perpetuity.

”Richard Bland College serves a student population that is often forgotten in higher education and is located in a region that is worthy of the investment,” said Hays Watkins. “We hope our gift will help future Statesmen graduate and transfer to William & Mary with little or no debt.”

“By donating the largest gift in College history to support Promise Scholars, Hays and Betty Watkins are helping the College to continue its promise to provide seamless pathways to prestigious universities like William and Mary” said Dr. Debbie Sydow, President of Richard Bland College. “This generous gift will enable academically exceptional RBC students to complete two years in a highly supportive environment and ultimately attain a William and Mary degree at a fraction of the cost.”

The first Promise Scholars cohort was selected this fall. The Promise Scholarship provides financial assistance as well as the wrap-around support necessary to ensure that students are successful at RBC before and after transferring to W&M.

The Watkins gift took Richard Bland College over the half-way mark toward a $2.2 million Promise Scholarship campaign goal.



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