Have family who attended Lynchburg? There’s a new scholarship opportunity that will support your undergraduate or graduate study at the University. Earlier this year, the Lynchburg Alumni Association board established the Lynchburg Legacy Scholarship.
Providing about $2,500 per year, it’s intended “for the benefit of any undergraduate or graduate student of the University of Lynchburg, who has an immediate family member (i.e., parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles) that attended and graduated from the University of Lynchburg/Lynchburg College.”
The fund will be awarded to “a deserving student who demonstrates financial need and shows academic promise.”
“Lynchburg really is like one big family, and so many of our students are legacy students,” said Vice President for Advancement Dr. Mike Bonnette. “I’m excited we finally have a scholarship specifically for them. I think it will make a huge impact.”
To date, 14 members of the alumni association board have contributed to the fund through gifts or pledges. Many gave during the initial discussion at last October’s board meeting, said Dr. Kelli S. Rainey ’99, alumni association board president and senior director of grants management at NACUBO, the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
She believes the scholarship will help strengthen the bond between alumni and students and give alumni an opportunity to make a direct impact.
“Even though I have no children, I felt that it was a great opportunity for individuals to continue to receive the same opportunities that I and my classmates received,” Rainey said.
“Knowing that scholarships are a significant need for students, I definitely felt that this not only contributed directly to [the student experience], but … it’s a way to continue to pass down a connection.”
Rainey has a cousin in the Class of 2019, so she experienced that intergenerational bond herself. She loves seeing families get excited at the chance of creating a similar connection.
“You see the pride in families’ faces, who now have this bond, this connection,” she said. “[They’ll say,] ‘I can’t wait until my child or grandchild can come here.’ You hear that passion in people’s voices.”
Alumni association board member F. Nicholas Sollog III ’06 is one of those people. He’s hoping his three boys, who are in elementary school now, will attend Lynchburg and experience what he experienced.
“I found a tribe at Lynchburg,” he said. “And if it weren’t for Lynchburg, I wouldn’t have found my career. I love what I do.”
Sollog, a fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations, earned a BA in international relations and was one of the first Bonner Leaders at Lynchburg. His student job supporting advancement through the Lynchburg phonathon helped him switch gears and find his passion — that’s the “power of a liberal arts education,” he said. “I can go into so many different things.”
His wife, Jamie Chappell Sollog ’06, pivoted from a communication and political science degree to a career as an ER nurse — more proof of that power. The two met at Lynchburg and started dating after graduation.
Sollog discovered Lynchburg College by accident. He’d visited the city often as a child because his grandmother grew up there, and his mother was a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College). Years later, he made a wrong turn on his way out of the cemetery where his mother is buried.
“I stopped to use the restroom [on campus] and ended up getting an admissions package,” Sollog recalled. “The rest is history.”
His four years at Lynchburg included “phenomenal opportunities to study abroad” in several countries and deep connections with fellow students, faculty, and staff.
“I had a lot of fun, and I’m still friends with a lot of people that I met as a student,” he said.
Experiencing firsthand what a liberal arts education can do, the couple has given consistently for years, and Sollog has volunteered at two reunions to drum up engagement.
They want to remove barriers for future Lynchburg students, he said.
“My hope is that someone who wants to go to college — and can handle the academic workload — that cost is not a barrier for them,” Sollog said, adding that their gift to the Legacy Scholarship was the “most sacrificial” yet.
“I will give as much as I am able to because I love the school and I want it to be successful,” he added.
He’s hoping the fund, which currently sits at $41,000 in cash and pledges, will continue to grow so it can open doors for more students.
In addition to gifts and pledges from the alumni association board, there have been contributions from current and retired staff, as well as one current parent. One alumni board member recently made their first gift to the fund.
“I hope this [story] will inspire gifts to the Legacy Scholarship — and to any scholarship,” Sollog said. “Give where your passion is, but give.”
The Legacy Scholarship is one of many merit- and need-based awards offered by the University of Lynchburg, where 100% of students receive scholarships.
To be eligible for the scholarship, simply apply for admission using the University’s online application and indicate any family members who graduated from Lynchburg.
Give now to make a difference in the life of a Lynchburg student.