Active duty Marines and their families will soon have another option to cover expenses at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Wilmington-based Trask Land Company announced Tuesday the creation of the Trask Land Company Champions of Freedom Scholarship -- a merit scholarship program at UNCW to benefit active-duty U.S. Marines and members of their families. Special preference will be given to Marines wounded in action or who serve in special operations, according to a news release.
Raiford Trask III, president of the development firm and member of the UNC Board of Governors, said his firm will commit $80,000 over the next four to five years to fund the scholarship.
According to Base Education Center statistics kept by UNCW, 15 active-duty Marines were enrolled in 34 courses at the university from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012.
Trask said he decided to move forward with the scholarship after receiving encouragement from a number of colleagues and friends that served in various branches of the military.
The Trask Land Company chose to establish the scholarship at UNCW because the university offers a number of educational programs tailored for members of the military and their families, the news release said.
Thanks to collaboration among UNCW, Coastal Carolina Community College and Camp Lejeune in Onslow County and Jacksonville, all three institutions offer programs specifically designed for active duty Marines, veterans and their dependents.
“We are excited to be able to work with two of our state’s great institutions, UNCW and the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, to offer the Trask Land Company Champions of Freedom Scholarship,” said Trask in a news release. “We are also humbled by the opportunity to provide a helping hand to a group of people who serve our country every day. Another exciting aspect of the Champions of Freedom footprint is that it creates a roadmap for other like-minded people to support our military through education.”
Members of the Trask family have a long history of supporting UNCW’s academic and athletic programs.
Trask recently served on the UNCW Campaign Cabinet for the university’s most recent fundraising campaign, which raised more than $66 million in philanthropic contributions. The Trask Coliseum is named for his grandfather Raiford G. Trask, a benefactor and former trustee of Wilmington College who was instrumental in relocating the university to its current campus on South College Road.
“On behalf of the university, I want to thank Raiford Trask III for his leadership in supporting educational opportunities for Marines and their family members enrolled at UNCW,” said UNCW Chancellor Gary L. Miller in a news release. “We’re grateful that he decided to endow the Trask Land Company Champions of Freedom Scholarship at UNCW.”
Trask said he hope other businesses follow suit with their support of UNCW.
“The most important thing is that this becomes a vehicle for other people to participate,” he said.
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