WPU Receives $100,000 Grant to Support Mary Lily Kenan Scholarship

Jan 1, 1970

William Peace University (WPU) is excited to announce it has received a $100,000 grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust in honor of Mary Lily Kenan Flagler Bingham, who graduated from Peace Institute in 1896. The funds will support The Mary Lily Kenan Scholarship, which was established in 1991 and was the first full scholarship for Peace College. Although the income from the endowed fund now provides a partial scholarship, it continues to represent the single highest academic honor presented to a William Peace University student.

“We are very thankful for this grant from the Kenan Trust,” said Dr. Brian C. Ralph, President of William Peace University. “These funds will help further the University’s mission of providing a superior, private education at an affordable cost, and will help support high-achieving students in their dream of attending college. We are both honored and proud to call Mary Lily Kenan an alumna and her family friends of Peace.”

Kenan Flagler Bingham, who majored in piano and voice at Peace, was the great-great granddaughter of James Kenan, who served on the first board of trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She married Henry Morrison Flagler, who was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, with John D. Rockefeller, and also became the prime developer of the Florida east coast. When Flagler died in 1913, Mary Lily assumed many of his charitable interests, such as hospitals, churches, and schools. She maintained homes in New York and Florida, but spent considerable time in Raleigh, where she visited her aunt and uncle, Colonel and Mrs. Thomas S. Kenan.*

Mary Lily later married Robert Worth Bingham, but died soon after, leaving an estate of almost $100 million. One of the most important bequests was a trust fund known as the Kenan Professorship Fund, which annually supplements the salaries of the distinguished Kenan professors. Mary Lily was buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, NC.*

At WPU, The Mary Lily Kenan Scholarship is awarded annually to a WPU student meeting the established criteria: top 5% of high school graduating class, a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better, and an SAT score of 1100 or above. The applicant must be present for a campus interview and submit a written essay to the Admissions Office. A final decision as to the recipient is then made by the Dean of Enrollment (Dean of Admissions) with input from several faculty members. The award is renewable for up to three additional years if the recipient maintains a GPA of 3.0 and receives no grade below a “C.”

More details about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust can be found at kenancharitabletrust.org.

For more news and information about William Peace University, visit www.peace.edu/news.


*Information courtesy of ncpedia.org


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