Ward Awarded Coveted Peay Scholarship
LEXINGTON, Va., Sept. 6, 2022—Julia T. Ward ’26, new incoming cadet, has been awarded the coveted Peay Merit Scholarship to attend Virginia Military Institute, covering the full cost of tuition, room, board, and fees.
First presented in 2021, the Peay Merit Scholarship is awarded to cadets who possess the qualities of character associated with the Institute’s 14th Superintendent, Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62: exceptional leadership, academic achievement, athletic commitment, and demonstrated interest in national service.
Candidates for the scholarship are evaluated in four criteria:
Athletic Commitment: For matriculants, evidence of athletic commitment involves consistent and meritorious participation in athletics at the preparatory level.Ward swam for her high school’s varsity swim team all four years. She also played water polo, and was team captain her senior year. She was a state qualifier twice for both swimming and water polo, and she is her high school’s record holder for the 400 free relay. She will play on VMI’s water polo team.
- Academic Achievement: For matriculants, a minimum 3.75 high school GPA.
Ward took honors and advanced placement classes throughout high school. Her weighted GPA was 4.5, her unweighted GPA was 3.9.
- Exceptional Leadership: For matriculants, evidence of this quality includes leadership experiences (in scholastic, athletic, service, and/or other endeavors) that clearly are noteworthy and distinguishing, such as documented instances of successful leadership in the face of significant adversity or testament of truly outstanding mentorship and guidance in leadership roles.
Ward was part of Air Force Junior ROTC all four years of high school and was captain of the Awareness Presentation team, which visited junior high schools and spoke to students about assault awareness, drug awareness, as well as AFJROTC recruitment. She attended weeklong summer camps for AFJROTC that are similar in nature to the Summer Transition Program (STP) at VMI.
- Commitment to National Service: For matriculants, an unambiguous commitment to commission as an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces upon college graduation. Other demonstrated commitment to national service (such as service in Teach For America or in official support of local, state, or national government) also may be considered.
Ward plans to commission into the Navy after graduation in 2026.
Ward never planned to attend any college other than VMI. “To me, education and learning is paramount. VMI has excellent academics, it offers the major I am interested in, I can play in NCAA Division I sports, and there is ROTC. VMI checked all the boxes for me,” said Ward.
She applied for both the Peay and Navy scholarships at the end of 2021. By January, she heard that she received the Navy scholarship and in March she heard she was awarded the Peay scholarship. “I was ecstatic when I heard the news. My parents were elated as well. There were plenty of tears of joy and hugs all around when I received that call,” recalled Ward.
Ward is a member of Band Company. She played the saxophone in high school, and hopes to join VMI’s jazz band. She plans to join the Pipe Band as well.
Ward is from Frankfort, Illinois, where she attended Lincoln-Way East High School. She is the daughter of Richard and Susan Ward. She is an electrical and computer engineering major.
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