Before attending Clemson University, Gracie Wells, a freshman in the school’s Calhoun Honors College, had no idea how many classes and clubs were offered that would open new doors for her to meet her goals and enjoy her time on campus. Thanks to the generosity of a local family, she can benefit more from her education with less focus on financial concerns.
“I’m grateful to be able to do extracurricular activities and still get the grades I want,” said Wells, 2019 recipient of the Margaret and Jack Paylor Family Scholarship. “The scholarship has allowed me to worry less about money and more about taking advantage of this opportunity.”
Majoring in foreign language and international health, Wells said the classes she enjoys most are her health class and a course in American Sign Language.
“The health class is a really interesting overview of health care systems; it sounds boring, but it applies to the current situation and what we’re struggling with in the United States,” she said. “The American Sign Language class is so much fun, and so different from learning any other language, because you use your body to express yourself.”
Wells participates in Clemson’s Undergraduate Student Government as a member of a committee focused on improving sustainability on campus, speaking to fraternities and sororities about ways to incorporate more sustainable practices. She also participates in Central Spirit, an athletics-oriented club dedicated to representing Clemson at sporting events while upholding the school’s standards and traditions.
Service to others has been important to Wells, and she was praised for her leadership and planning skills in her role as a student leader at the Bobby Pearse Community Center. Wells also volunteered at the Meyer Center for Special children.
“My time at the Meyer Center showed me that children are all the same — whether they have special needs or not, they still want to be treated as children,” she said. “I’m not sure yet what I will do in the future, but I would like to work with children, or for a nonprofit to help people in whatever way I can.”
A similar giving spirit led Margaret Paylor to create The Margaret and Jack Paylor Family Scholarship Fund in 2016 through the Community Foundation of Greenville. The scholarship provides financial assistance for higher education to economically disadvantaged students residing in Greenville County who plan to attend a South Carolina public college or university.
Paylor had previously set up a donor-advised fund with the Community Foundation from which she supported organizations that further education, including the Greenville Tech Foundation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Peace College, among others.
Paylor believes, as did her late husband Jack, that higher education is key to success in life. Her parents, both college graduates, taught her the value of education at a young age; Paylor attended Peace College and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a master’s degree from Clemson University.
Of Wells’ success at Clemson, Paylor said, “I am very proud of her past record of great grades and I’m proud that she is continuing that at Clemson. That is not easy and takes commitment.”
A number of other individuals, families and organizations have created similar endowments through the Community Foundation of Greenville that disburse scholarship funds according to guidelines set up by the donors. They’ve entrusted the Community Foundation with the management and investment of these funds to be certain their gifts continue to support deserving students for years to come.
To learn more about the Margaret and Jack Paylor Family Scholarship and other scholarships offered through the Community Foundation, visit www.cfgreenville.org/scholarships.