Extraordinary Opportunity: Rome Williams
NC State defensive tackle Rome Williams is the recipient of a new type of financial aid that allows him to play for the Pack while preparing for life after football. The only thing more impactful than this student-athlete is his scholarship.
Jerome “Rome” Williams came to NC State to chase his dreams — and the opposing team’s quarterback. A walk-on defensive tackle for Wolfpack football, Williams redshirted as a freshman in 2019 and has been racking up an impressive stat sheet ever since. Being a member of the Pack, even during a pandemic, has been everything he hoped it would be and more.
“It’s been amazing, especially my freshman year before any COVID restrictions were preventing us from doing 100% of what we’re able to do,” Williams said. “There are so many people helping us in so many areas. Really, they don’t care if you’re walk-on or scholarship; they treat us all the same.”
Being on the field at Carter-Finley Stadium is a dream come true for Williams, but it isn’t the only reason No. 91 chose to attend NC State. The 6’1”, 270-pound native of Jacksonville, North Carolina, has even bigger goals for his post-graduate/post-football career, and he’s working hard on and off the field to make them possible.
Williams is currently a sophomore majoring in criminology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. After he graduates, he wants to become a lawyer, an officer in the military or a member of the FBI or CIA. Each option is as ambitious as the next, which means Williams will need to rely on the skills he is learning as a student-athlete in order to succeed.
Rome has wanted to attend NC State since he was in the sixth grade, but the high cost of tuition made his choice seem impossible. That’s where the Extraordinary Opportunity Scholarship Initiative came in.
It’s really an honor to be selected because I know it’s not every student that gets something like this. It really means a lot.
The Extraordinary Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, or EOSI, is part of NC State’s Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign aimed at empowering more students to afford a college education. These unique scholarships can also be awarded to NC State students in any college and in any major.
Coincidentally, Chancellor Randy Woodson announced this new scholarship initiative in February 2020, just one month before COVID-19 began affecting all aspects of university life — including football. Put it all together, and EOSI was the perfect fit at the perfect time for Williams.
“It just means so much to me, especially with me currently being a walk-on athlete,” Williams said. “Getting as much financial aid as possible, especially with my current scholarship situation, is just great.”
With the average annual cost of attending NC State as an undergraduate at more than $24,000 and the average student need at $16,000-plus, the need for EOSI is all too clear. The initiative currently provides a 50% match on gifts of $50,000 or more, allowing donors to impact students much faster than would otherwise be possible. But it also includes gifts of all sizes. Thanks primarily to gifts from the 2020 Day of Giving, 31 students including Williams comprise the first group of EOSI recipients this spring.
If you have ever considered supporting a scholarship at NC State, there is no better time to start. Just ask him.
“I would just like to say thank you to them for this great opportunity,” Williams said of donors to EOSI. “It’s really an honor to be selected because I know it’s not every student that gets something like this. It really means a lot.”
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