Top photo: Angela Caraway presents a laptop to a student during the Caraway Foundation’s 2014 Back to School Bash.
When Angela Caraway wanted to give back to the Pack in the form of a scholarship, she thought she would need to save a lot of money before attempting to establish one. But she soon realized that her dream was closer within reach than she initially believed.
Since graduating from NC State in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, Caraway has continued her connection with NC State by becoming a member of the Alumni Association and the Black Alumni Society, an advisory board member of the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), and the National Diversity Advisory Board. On top of all that, her company, The Caraway Management Group, Inc. is the event planner—since its inception—for NC State’s Packapalooza™.
“I’ve got a passion for NC State and am so grateful for all of the support and opportunities I’ve received from the Pack, while in school and throughout my career,” she said.
“I’ve got a passion for NC State and am so grateful for all of the support and opportunities I’ve received from the Pack, while in school and throughout my career.”Angela Caraway
“I grew up in a large family in rural Anson County, North Carolina, and had the joy of listening to my grandmother share stories about how important education is—she knew because she never had the opportunity to attend college.”
Caraway said her grandmother instilled that with hard work, dedication, faith, family, and community, anything was possible. When she was accepted to NC State and received support through the University Transitions Program, she knew her dreams were coming true. And they continue coming true even today.
Generous by nature—giving time, energy, friendship, service, and much more—Caraway contacted the Division of Academic and Student Affairs to inquire about establishing a scholarship for first-generation students from rural North Carolina. This was among many goals Caraway had on her list to accomplish before her 50th birthday.
Josh Privette, associate director of development, recalls the initial conversation. “Angela didn’t think of herself as someone who could create a scholarship immediately. There is the assumption—and it’s a common one—that a person must be very wealthy to make an immediate impact. When she realized that she could endow a scholarship through a planned gift and activate it immediately through annual gifts, she was thrilled.”
Courtney Simpson, senior director of TRIO Student Support Services, said the impact of Caraway’s gift is far-reaching. “Within the TRIO universe, most students are first-generation college students and are also financially under-resourced. Overcoming the obstacles of funding tuition, fees, and costs is critical. But funding for things like a laptop, participating in extra campus activities, or even participating in a study abroad program, are not often available,” she said.
Caraway established the Angela C. Caraway and Family Scholarship in honor of her family. She explains, “I created this scholarship in honor of my grandparents, my aunts and uncles—everyone who showed me the value of education—and the importance of the family name.”
“Angela’s scholarship really takes into consideration that the students who apply for it are going to be from low-income, rural backgrounds. The message it sends is ‘I value your experience and who you are! You got into NC State, so ability is not an issue! The issue is funding you enough so you can participate fully in the college experience,’” Simpson added.
About Anson County
Anson County is the birthplace of Leonidas Lafayette Polk, known as LL, born on April 24, 1837. In his 55 years of life, he contributed to many aspects of North Carolina politics, agriculture, education, and more. Today his legacy can be seen when driving down Hillsborough Street in Raleigh and as you pass NC State University and Meredith College.
Caraway is familiar with obstacles—and with overcoming them. And each one has fueled her faith that she is here for a higher purpose.
At the age of 43, she received the diagnosis of Stage 3 colon cancer. “The surgeon told me that if I had waited even a couple of months, it would have been fatal.”
She came through the surgery and treatments, and went right into producing the Packapalooza event. “Everybody at NC State supported me. They made sure that prior to, during, and after Packapalooza, I had what I needed to get through this life-altering journey. This meant the world to me.”
“My faith tells me that I have a purpose on earth that is much bigger than me, and that inspires me to reach beyond what I think I can do, or who I think I can be”, she noted.
Offering advice for others considering creating a scholarship at NC State, Caraway says, “Just do it. Even if you start with an annual support of NC State scholarship, it can help one person. For a student who is short by just a little bit, modest support can make the difference between going to college or not.”