Class of '69 Scholarship Honoring Classmate Still Helping

When Charles P. Farris Jr. ’69 encouraged his classmates to give “one lousy dollar” to a new scholarship fund during a meeting of the class of 1969 almost 45 years ago, he was not disparaging the buck.

He was emphasizing its power. And what class members could do to give it even more of an impact through contributing, even if only a dollar, to the class gift to help needy students.

What became the Molly Ellen Nicholson Scholarship, the first UNC scholarship established by students to aid students, has helped a lot of people pay for college — 14 in the past 10 years alone. The financial aid office had more than $6,500 to disburse from the fund for the current school year.

It all started as dollars and proceeds from mum sales and formal dances and beer bashes.

“It was a wonderful achievement for that class,” Farris said. “The members of the class of ’69 have made a difference in the lives of those children who have come to Chapel Hill only because of that scholarship. There are no restrictions, applicants don’t have to play sports or be in 50 clubs or maintain a certain GPA — just study. Just try.”

The scholarship is need-based and available to North Carolina residents. It is renewable as long as recipients are still need-eligible, are enrolled full time and are in good standing with the University. The annual awards generally range from $2,000 to $5,000.

The scholarship was named for the class secretary, who was killed in a car accident two days before graduation. Nicholson, daughter of UNC statistics professor George Nicholson, served on the Student Union Social Committee and was co-chair of the Interfraternity and Panhellenic council’s UNICEF drive.

“It’s too good a gift to be forgotten,” said Farris, who also earned a law degree at UNC in 1973. “The scholarship is benefiting people every single year. Students come to the University who could not have come had it not been for the efforts of our class.”

More online…

  • To make an online donation to the Molly Ellen Nicholson Scholarship, go to and select the fund “Molly E. Nicholson/Class of ’69 (656670)”


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