Mary Williams Kelley Reed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TEN SOUTH CAROLINIANS NAMED GATES MILLENNIUM SCHOLARS (GMS) AND A FORMER SCHOLAR BECOMES GMS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION NATIONAL PRESIDENT
Washington, DC (May 15, 2013) – The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program – one of 400 scholarships administered by UNCF (the United Negro College Fund), the nation’s largest and most effective minority education program – recently announced the selection of this year’s cohort of 1,000 new students. The GMS Program will award the Class of 2013 Gates Millennium Scholars good-through-graduation scholarships which can be used to pursue degrees in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of the recipients’ choice.
Of the 1,000 new scholars, 10 of the students are from South Carolina. They include:
- Lindsey Hallingquest – Columbia High School (Columbia)
- Zhane Hibbit – Columbia High School (Columbia)
- Tyler Edmond – Richland One Charter Middle College (Columbia)
- Carrington Murray – Crestwood High School (Sumter)
- Braylon Ford – Dillon High School (Dillon)
- Malcolm Nowlin – Wilson High School (Florence)
- Ronnie Little – Liberty High School (Liberty)
- Frederick Thompson – Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School (Orangeburg)
- Richard Smith – Crestwood High School (Sumter)
- Deion Jamison – Lake Marion High School & Technology Center (Santee)
“Today more than ever it is important that we provide our young people with the support they need to get to and through college. For the 20,000 young men and women who will attend college as Gates Millennium Scholars throughout the program, the leadership training, mentoring and financial, academic, and social support they receive will enable them to become college graduates and the next generation of leaders we need to remain competitive in the 21st century," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., president and CEO, UNCF. “We are grateful for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s support of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program because it is not only an investment in the futures of these students, but also in the country’s economic and social strength and competitiveness ."
Established in 1999 with the goal of developing Leaders for America’s Future™, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Nearly 200 Gates Scholars have come from South Carolina since the program’s inception. The GMS Program is removing barriers to education for students of color. Scholars attend and graduate from 800 of the most selective private and public schools in the country, including Ivy League colleges, flagship state universities, UNCF member institutions and other minority serving institutions.
A Gates Millennium Scholar Alumnus, Tommy Preston, Jr., was recently named the national president of the Gates Millennium Scholars Alumni Association, an organization consisting of more than 12,000 recipients of the scholarship since its inception. Mr. Preston received his scholarship in 2003 and attended the University of South Carolina (USC) where he graduated cum laude with a degree in Political Science and History and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
“It is truly an honor to be the new national president of the Gates Millennium Scholars Alumni Association. Through this scholarship, my fellow Scholar alumni and I feel a deep obligation to make a difference in our communities. Being the leader of this group of brilliant, highly motivated, and talented alumni is a remarkable experience,” said Tommy Preston. “Over the next two years I will have the opportunity to work with the Gates Millennium Scholars Program to engage our alumni in improving our country. As America’s future leaders, there are no limits to what we can do and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact we will make during my tenure as president and in the years to come.”
During his time at USC, Mr. Preston served as student body president, was the student member on the University’s Board of Trustees, and served as a student advisor for the US Department of Education. He founded the popular Cocky’s Reading Express™, a statewide literacy initiative that provides books to almost 60,000 children in South Carolina. Mr. Preston is also the recipient of the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the highest honor awarded to a USC student.
Mr. Preston is currently an attorney at Nexsen Pruet, LLC in Columbia. He is still active at his alma mater and in the community. He currently serves on the My Carolina Alumni Association Board of Governors and is the vice chair and chair-elect of the University of South Carolina Board of Visitors.
The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline they choose. Continuing Gates Scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential.
2013 GMS Press Release (South Carolina).pdf