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Extraordinary Opportunity: Will Gibson

Will Gibson

Will Gibson, a sophomore in the College of Natural Resources, has many reasons why he chose to attend NC State. The most important? The university’s vast array of opportunities.

Gibson is currently majoring in sustainable materials and technology, but he is considering a transfer to the College of Engineering to major in mechanical engineering. Or maybe he’ll decide to study something else entirely. Whatever degree Gibson pursues, he wants to make a difference in the lives of everyone around him after graduation.

“Elon Musk said he wants reasons to wake up … and so he’s doing these amazing things that would seem so far-fetched only a decade or two ago,” Gibson said. “To some extent, I want to embody a bit of that philosophy he has. When I go out into the world, I want to change things for the better for people. Once I have a degree, I want to really take it and apply it. That’s why I’m so careful about what my degree is right now.”

Being part of a strong NC State family legacy also helped Gibson solidify his choice of university. His great-grandfather, grandfather, father and brother are all Pack alumni — “You could say that I already had good reviews from people I could trust about the school,” Gibson said. He worked hard as a freshman at nearby Wake Technical Community College to get the grades he needed to transfer to NC State and continue the family tradition, but the higher cost of tuition made the transition difficult.

Not having to worry about a good portion of money toward tuition is nice. It just makes it a little bit easier, especially right now with COVID.

That’s where the Extraordinary Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (EOSI) came in.

EOSI is part of NC State’s Think and Do the Extraordinary Campaign aimed at empowering more students to achieve a college education. In recent years, more than 70% of the university’s undergraduates have applied for financial aid. With the average annual cost of attending NC State as an undergrad at more than $24,000 and the average student need at $16,000-plus, the importance of such an initiative is all too clear.

“I don’t have to stress as much, which is a real easy thing for me to do,” Gibson said. “Not having to worry about a good portion of money toward tuition is nice. It just makes it a little bit easier, especially right now with COVID. It’s a nice reminder that there are people out there who are trying to ease [this burden], and it’s just comforting.”

EOSI is powered by gifts of all sizes. Gibson is one of 31 students (representing every college) who received the very first EOSI awards this spring, largely thanks to donors to last fall’s Day of Giving. For endowment donors, there’s a pool that provides a 50% match on gifts of $50,000 or more, allowing donors to begin benefiting students more quickly than would otherwise be possible.

Gibson’s EOSI scholarship came as quite a surprise to him. He mainly applied for scholarships with very specific criteria because he didn’t think he could beat out all of the competitors for broader ones. Despite EOSI being a universitywide effort, meaning donors can impact students in any college or major, Gibson did indeed qualify for this special funding.

EOSI has allowed him to explore the invaluable opportunities NC State offers — and confirm that his family was telling him the truth about their love for a university they called wonderful.

Anyone considering making a gift of any amount should know that EOSI can make the difference in enabling students to think and do the extraordinary. Just ask Will.

“Do it because you want to and because you know it is going to help,” Gibson said. “It is a certainty that it will help someone. It has helped me.”

Create extraordinary opportunities.

Your gift to the Extraordinary Opportunity Scholarship Initiative opens doors, changes lives and impacts the future.

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