Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” At Longwood, we learn that, as citizen leaders, we are expected to do our part to make the world a better place. The potential impact of each new class of graduates—armed with everything they learned at Longwood inside and outside the classroom—is enormous.
We don’t have to look back very far to see how Longwood alumni have been responsible for positive change in their communities, in the business world, in research labs, in the military, in the lives of children and in so many other ways.
But we should never forget one critical element in this scenario: scholarships. This is not an exaggeration; it is reality. I know many Longwood students, myself included, who would not have been able to complete their education without the help of generous donors.
Throughout my four years at Longwood, I have been blessed to receive ﬁnancial assistance from several scholarships. Each one has a special place in my heart.
The Herbert R. Blackwell Scholarship gained special meaning for me when Dr. Ken Perkins, who was then the provost, called me into his ofﬁce to let me know I had been selected. I will never forget his looking me in the eyes and saying, “I think we are going to see big things from you, Kevin.”
The Dabney Stewart Lancaster Scholarship is near and dear to my heart because, at my ﬁrst Be the One scholarship banquet, I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Tabb Johnston Schubert ’72, the granddaughter of former Longwood president Dr. Dabney Stewart Lancaster. Mrs. Schubert and I talked on and on about the history of Longwood and how proud she was to be an alumna of such a wonderful institution.
The Hull Scholars Excellence in Education Scholarship was the ﬁrst Longwood scholarship I received. It is a renewable scholarship and is the main reason that I will graduate without any college debt. I know how lucky that makes me.
Most emotional for me, however, is the Shane T . Adcock Memorial Scholarship, which I received this February. The scholarship was created in memory of Capt. Shane Adcock ’03, who died on Oct. 11, 2006, in Hawija, Iraq, after being injured by enemy grenade ﬁre. On Oct. 15, 2015, in the fall of my sophomore year and almost nine years to the day after Capt. Adcock’s death, I enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard, inspired by his example and his sacriﬁce. Being in the National Guard has given me even more respect for what our nation’s soldiers are ﬁghting for overseas. At this year’s scholarship banquet, I ﬁnally got to meet Capt. Adcock’s parents and share with them how much the scholarship means to me.
For me, and for others I know, receiving a scholarship is more than just ﬁnancial aid. It has a domino effect, opening opportunities for us to immerse ourselves in life-changing activities.
If I had not received my scholarships, there is no telling how different my college experience would have been. I might not have been able to enlist in the Virginia Army National Guard, work as an intern for the Dean of Students Larry Robertson ’90 or conduct research with several faculty members in the kinesiology department.
Over my last four years at Longwood, I have been on a journey, striving to become the best possible citizen leader that I could be. The term citizen leadership has many different meanings to many different people. To me, citizen leadership means serving others without expecting anything in return, accepting everyone despite differences, working with others to advance society, looking for the positives in all situations, refraining from boasting even if you have accomplished something great, ﬁnding ways to connect with peers, lending a helping hand when you see someone in need, and being a genuinely honest and kind individual.
I truly believe that the scholarships I have been awarded have given me the opportunity to grow tremendously on my path to becoming the citizen leader that I strive to be. My hope for the future is to give back to the place that gave me so much—Longwood University.
About the Author
Kevin Napier ’18Kevin Napier ’18, a kinesiology major, served as president of the Student Government Association during his senior year, a position that includes the responsibility of representing his fellow students on Longwood’s Board of Visitors. Napier (center) is pictured here with Maris and Vera Adcock, the parents of Shane Adcock ’03.