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Lenoir resident receives Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship to attend Appalachian

BOONE— Robert Whitley of Lenoir is one of 77 individuals across the country to receive a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Program Scholarship.

A graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College, Whitley has enrolled in the master’s degree in history program offered by Appalachian State University at the Hickory Metropolitan Higher Education Center.

Recipients for the scholarships were chosen after a nationwide selection process that drew 1,100 nominees. The graduate scholarships cover tuition, room, board, fees and books for up to six years. The exact amount and duration of the scholarships vary by student based on the cost of attendance and length of the graduate program as well as other scholarships or grants the student has received.

The scholarships are among the most generous academic awards offered in the United States.

“Our objective is to help high achieving students who have financial need, whether they are attending a middle school in rural Kansas or Harvard Medical School,” said Dr. Matthew J. Quinn, executive director of the foundation. “The graduate scholarship recipients know hard work and sacrifice. These scholarships recognize their devotion to education, reward their efforts, and provide an incentive to continue excelling, and, we hope, to benefit society.”

According to a news release from Lenoir-Rhyne College, Whitley overcame personal medical challenges to continue his education. He has been on dialysis since his kidneys failed more than a decade ago. Then, when he was about to qualify for a kidney transplant, he was diagnosed with cancer. When his health stabilized, he enrolled at Caldwell Community College, earning an associate of arts degree, and then enrolled at Lenoir-Rhyne College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.

Whitley worked for 20 years in the furniture industry before enrolling in school. He is the first person in his family to graduate from college.

Whitley is a member of the student support services staff at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. His long-term goal is to earn a Ph.D. in history and teach at the college level.