Student Support

‘It Changed Everything’

The Margerison Distinguished Scholarship helped provide Gloria Hovaniec peace of mind that the future is bright for her daughter.

The Margerison Distinguished Scholarship helped provide Gloria Hovaniec peace of mind that the future is bright for her daughter.

From her early days in elementary school, Samantha Hovaniec ’15, ’18 (J.D.) exhibited an intrinsic desire to succeed no matter what challenge her teachers threw her way.

“She wanted to do her best all the time,” said Samantha’s mother, Gloria Hovaniec. “When she had projects, she would tell me that we needed to go to Michael’s to get some supplies. I would say, ‘Well, you’ve got two weeks until this is due.’ She would tell me that didn’t matter, she wanted to get started right away.”

Gloria and Chuck Hovaniec, Samantha’s biological grandparents, adopted Samantha when she was six months old because her parents were unable to care for her. Soon after the adoption, Chuck was forced into early retirement and later developed health problems that prevented him from working to supplement his retirement income.

“My goodness, you adopt a child at 50 years old, and then all of that happens,” Gloria said. As she grew older, Samantha continued to flourish in school, and the Hovaniecs wanted to pay for their daughter’s college.

“We saved what we could, but we thought we were going to have to go into our retirement savings to pay for college,” Gloria said. “With a sick husband, that is very stressful.”

By the time Samantha came to Carolina, her father’s health was continuing to decline. Though she qualified for some financial aid, her parents’ goal to pay for her college was becoming a more difficult burden.

Just before her sophomore year, however, the Hovaniecs got some good news. Samantha had been awarded a Margerison Distinguished Scholarship, which covered most of her tuition and expenses.

“I remember when I got it I immediately wrote the Margerison family a thank-you letter, and then my parents also wrote one, too” Samantha said. “They said they’d never gotten letters from the entire family before, but we were that ecstatic.”

Samantha went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in political science and economics. Her undergraduate academic achievements earned her a full scholarship to UNC School of Law.

“The Margerison scholarship really helped me focus my full energy on academics,” Samantha said. “Would I have been able to get a full ride to law school if I was also working almost full-time during undergrad? Probably not. It changed everything I’ve been able to do.”

After working in New York, Samantha is now an associate at North Carolina law firm Brooks Pierce. She considers Rick Margerison a mentor, and they have kept in touch since her graduation.

“The main thing is how much Rick cares about the scholarship recipients,” Samantha said. “It’s much more than the money he gives. He truly wants to see them do well.”

Samantha’s accomplishments and the helping hand of a scholarship give Gloria peace of mind that the future is bright for her daughter.

“If God called me home today, I would feel totally secure about Samantha’s future,” Gloria said. “Samantha’s hard work and her brains got her there, but it’s also because of people like the Margerisons, and I am so thankful.”

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