Rocky Mount Academy graduate Will Adams recently was selected for the prestigious Johnson Scholarship at Washington and Lee University.
The scholarship covers full tuition and fees, standard room and board for four years, worth a total of $223,000.The son of Randy and Sally Adams, he was selected because of his “exceptional academic and personal promise.” He is among an elite 10 percent of the incoming freshmen who received this honor.
“Washington and Lee was always my first choice, but, like all private colleges, the expense is very high. So winning the scholarship is the reason that I could go there but not the reason that I wanted to go there,” Adams said.
Adams also had been courted by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill that had offered him some incentives and scholarship money to attend there.
During the finals weekend for the scholarship, Adams said that he had two interviews. In one of them, the panel included a philosophy professor. The panel had read Adams’ essay on unfairness, and they also were aware that he had travelled to India recently. So, they asked him to compare India with the United States as an example of economic unfairness.
“Answering a philosophical question in front of a professor of philosophy was quite an experience,” Adams said.
They must have liked his answer, because he was selected out of 200 finalists to be a Johnson Scholar.
When the word got out that he had been offered the scholarship, Adams was surprised to learn of how many W&L alumni he already knows. He came to realize that it is a close knit group and it gave him a “warm feeling about the school” and the possibility that he had to be a member of this prestigious group.
“I expect that I’ll have a better chance to build closer relationships with students and professors at a smaller school,” he said. “I don’t want to miss out on making connections.” He added that he wants to make “a broad range of friends from around the United States and the world. I’ll definitely be studying abroad while I’m there,”
Adams said he hopes to get an interesting internship position during one of the summers, possibly connecting with W&L alumni through the internships.
Adams is undecided on a major but is leaning towards the business program, with possibly a major in accounting. When he’s not in the classroom, he is looking forward to participating in their Outing Club, which will take junkets into the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.