Brad Wilson was the first in his family to get a college degree, from Appalachian State University in Boone, and he made something of it. Then there was law school at Wake Forest, then a career with former Gov. Jim Hunt, and currently a big job as president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.
Now, in hopes that other youngsters will have opportunities similar to his own, Wilson and his wife, Carole, also a Boone alum, are giving $3 million to ASU for a merit scholarship program.
The gift from the Raleigh couple represents the largest ever to the university from alumni.
Those who receive the scholarships will be encouraged to do public service along the way, and theyll also do international study.
We hope that those who will benefit from our commitment will be inspired to give of their time, talents and resources to enhance and perpetuate the Appalachian experience, Brad Wilson said.
Wilson, who worked his way up to his current position by being accomplished in the public and private sector and is a past chairman of the University of North Carolina system Board of Governors, is a good personal example of how hard work can fulfill dreams.
A soft-spoken intellectual, Wilson does have a weakness for ASU sports: He was in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2007, sitting on the bench, when Appalachians football team beat the No. 5-ranked Michigan team.
That was a great day for the Mountaineers. Now the Wilsons have provided another one.