Maryhelen Willhite Endowed Scholarship Established

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Bishops are often asked, “What makes Wesleyan different?” or “Why Wesleyan?” The answer is simple. It is the people, the community. This is proven once again by another generous donor, Maryhelen Willhite Jones.

Maryhelen is the daughter of the late Dr. W. Lyle Willhite who was a professor at NC Wesleyan from 1976 to 1984. Her dedication and commitment to Wesleyan runs deep and in 1996, she was able to assist one of Dr. Willhite’s former students, Rick Bradham III, ’81, in establishing The Dr. W.L. Willhite Endowed Scholarship.

Maryhelen Willhite Jones

Because of her late father’s influence, Maryhelen made her first contribution in the spring of 2024 to establish The Maryhelen Willhite Jones Endowed Scholarship, her own Second Generation Legacy Scholarship. This award will be given to undergraduate students majoring in Marketing who have excelled in academic and extracurricular accomplishments at NCWU.

Dr. Willhite instilled in Maryhelen to be bold and give with purpose and passion. Now she has been able to “bring that ‘can do’ boldness to NCWU through another endowed scholarship with the Willhite name.”

Maryhelen says “I believe in not only paying things forward, but also paying them inward.”

Although her background is in the Arts, International Relations, and Information/ Library Sciences, she has a passion for all things Marketing: brands, products, companies, non-profits, social causes, innovations, and ideas. Maryhelen states, “If I had to do it over again, I would go into the field of Marketing. What I can do instead is to help support those who decide to do just that.”

Maryhelen knows that Wesleyan’s undergraduate marketing degree involves research skills, critical thinking, demographics, collaboration, creativity, communication, persuasion, information, observation, social, economic, and cultural considerations, and yes, sometimes playfulness!

“My ultimate focus is on the students, who no matter what their career fields end up to be, are ethically grounded and have a strong moral self-compass,” says Maryhelen Willhite Jones.

“The Dr. W. L. Willhite Endowed Scholarship has been financially supporting Wesleyan students for over 27 years. To have a scholarship established by his daughter, Maryhelen, that will impact lives in the same way is a grand gesture. We are grateful for the ongoing support from the Willhite family, which will continue to make a difference for future Wesleyan alumni. The relationship developed has been meaningful and of great significance.”

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