Honoring Accomplishment and Family through Scholarships

BetheaTwenty-six alumni call themselves Bethea Scholars, and as such, they are forever associated with a name and a family that has deep Davidson roots. The scholarship was made possible through a bequest given by Andrew Bethea ’31, who died in 1974.

“Andrew was one of the greatest people of all time,” said Toby Bethea ’63, his nephew.

Our entire family—certainly my parents when they were alive—has always been proud to see what a significant impact a scholarship could make in the lives of students.”

The family connection is important to Bethea, and he makes a point to tell the scholars he meets about his family members and their longtime Wildcat pride. The scholarship honors Toby as well as Toby’s father and second cousin, all Davidson alumni.

“I’m always reminded of Frontis Johnston ’30, professor and dean at Davidson for many years, who would remind us ‘of those who have much, much is expected,’” said Bethea. “That sense of honoring accomplishment really is embedded in the purpose of the scholarship.”

Gerard Dash, a Bethea Scholar, graduated in 2013 with a degree in political science. Now living in Atlanta, he is an executive search and assessment professional at Russell Reynolds Associates.

“I am incredibly thankful for the Bethea Scholarship, as it played an integral role in my decision to attend Davidson,” said Dash. “The financial assistance it provided significantly reduced my overall financial burden, which allowed me to fully immerse myself in the Davidson experience and explore other opportunities outside of the classroom. While at Davidson, I had the privilege of serving as student body president, and without this scholarship, I most likely would not have had enough free time to engage in those sorts of activities. Overall, I truly enjoyed my time at Davidson and I felt prepared for the "real world" upon graduation. I greatly appreciate Toby's thoughtfulness and generosity, and I am glad we have remained in touch over the years.”

The most recent graduate, Xzavier Killings ’16, won a prestigious Watson Fellowship. Building on his passion for medicine, athletics and service, and inspired by his time studying in Germany, the biology major will spend the next year traveling to Jamaica, Zambia, India and Belize. He will examine different approaches to healing, as well as how communities are empowering patients to sustain their healthcare outside of hospital walls.

With his long-term goal of becoming a medical practitioner, Killings hopes to learn what makes these international health programs successful so he can bring those ideas back to the United States.

“I didn't expect to be supported as much as I am by professors, staff and students,” said Killings, who, in addition to the Bethea Scholarship, also received the Bonner Scholarship and the Allen V. Beck Jr. Scholarship. “My community of athletics, academics and my social family all intertwine and support each other, working toward a common goal. It's only right that I pay that support forward.”

The Bethea Scholarship Program has made a significant difference for many lives, and the impact of this support will only grow with each passing year and each new story to tell. Preparing lives for leadership and service ... that’s the Davidson mission, and the Bethea Scholarship helps to make it happen.