WPU’s Day of Thanks celebrates the impact of donors
By: Liz Rieth
William Peace University (WPU) is impacted by the courageous generosity of donors each day.
Whether it’s a student attending the University with the help of a scholarship or a class learning in a hands-on, immersive space, every WPU student benefits from philanthropy. The WPU Community celebrates our donors annually at WPU’s Day of Thanks on February 14.
There are countless stories of how these supporters make a difference for students. Here are four:
Patrick Calhoun ‘23
Patrick Calhoun ’23 was drawn to WPU because it was a place where he could grow, learn and make a courageous impact on campus.
Now, Calhoun is doing just that. A Marketing Major from Wilmington, North Carolina, he is a member of the National Honor Society and has been on the Dean’s List every year. He also plays for the Men’s Lacrosse team.
“WPU provided me with a network of faculty and friends that genuinely wish to see me grow as an individual,” Calhoun said. “As a result, I have learned the importance of communication, how to be an independent thinker, and skills to help me confidently take on the world.”
Calhoun can attend WPU thanks to financial help from supporters like the Chadwick Family. The Chadwick Family Scholarship, formally the George H. Chadwick Jr. Scholarship, was created by the late Mrs. Josephine “Jo” Chadwick ’43, their children, and numerous friends in 1978 in memory of George H. Chadwick Jr. This fund seeks to provide a better future for students with financial need who contribute to their school, church and community. For Calhoun, the scholarship was a tremendous aid.
“I am responsible for paying my college tuition and living expenses. It’s difficult, and the pressure of school and expenses certainly take their toll, but I have learned to appreciate every opportunity,” Calhoun said. “The Chadwick Family Scholarship is the opportunity to pursue my interests and better myself with much less of a financial burden. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”
Marerika Monroe ‘22
Passionate about acting, Marerika Monroe ’22 is a senior Musical Theatre Major. During her time at WPU, she has pursued her passion in every spare second.
She’s starred in productions of The Wolves, Hair, and Beauty and the Beast. She’s also been a part of performances with the Raleigh Little Theatre and script readings with NC State’s Theatre Department. Her time on the stage has taught her to be confident and courageous.
“As a woman of color, I want to bring my own style and voice to the characters I play,” Monroe said. “WPU has given me the confidence to do that. My professors challenge me to be more than just a singer and to be courageous in the roles I audition for.”
Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Monroe is also an Admissions Ambassador, Orientation Leader, and has been on the dean’s list this past couple of years. She is on the dance team and has been captain for two years now.
For Monroe, she has received several scholarships that have helped her be a part of the Theatre program and be able to perform and grow as an individual, not just in theatre but in academics as well.
Eda Varinca Jones ‘22
Eda Varinca Jones ‘22 is a nurse at home and work.
Jones, of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, is a student in WPU’s Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She also works as a nurse at WakeMed Emergency Department in Apex.
And on top of that, she cares for her twin daughter and son, now 2 and half years old, who were born prematurely and require additional care.
Jones is this year’s recipient of the Lynn Kendrick Erdman ’75 Nursing Scholarship.
“Despite my hands being full and my heart being fuller, I come to work every weekend with a positive, courageous attitude, ready to deliver the best care I can to my patients and their families,” said Jones, who has also maintained a 4.0 GPA while at WPU.
The scholarship was established in 2019 by alumna and trustee Lynn Kendrick Erdman ’75 and her husband, David W, Erdman. The scholarship is the first at WPU to provide financial assistance to students in the RN to BSN program.
“[The scholarship] will make a world of difference to my family and I because it will help pay for furthering my education. It will take some [of] the burden off us worrying about how we would afford tuition,” Jones said. “It will also allow me to continue focusing more of my attention on earning by BSN while I continue to work full time and care for my blessed family.”
Rachael Buffkin ‘08
Alumna Rachael Buffkin ‘08, Research Services Supervisor at RTI International, explained that the generosity of WPU supporters shaped her years at what was then known as Peace College.
“The generosity of William Peace donors impacted every aspect of my University experience,” Buffkin said. “From the scholarship I received that allowed me to attend Peace, participating in Chamber Singers, attending Manning Music Series concerts, participating in the summer program in Mexico, to touring Europe with the Chamber Singers — donors make these experiences possible!”
Buffkin now gives back to WPU as the secretary on the Alumni Association Board of Directors (ABOD) and as a donor. To learn more about the Alumni Association Board, visit here.