Glen Raven Inc., a global textile company based near Burlington, N.C., recently donated $250,000 to the NC State Wilson College of Textiles to support the college’s Textile Pioneer Scholarship Program as well as the Dean’s Textile Innovation Fund.
The first needs-based scholarship program at the Wilson College, the Textile Pioneer Scholarship Program aims to identify and recruit qualified students from economically challenged Tier 1 and 2 counties. Currently, a little more than 25% of Wilson College students hail from Tier 1 or Tier 2 counties.
Since the Textile Pioneer Scholarship Program’s launch in 2019, eight students have entered the Wilson College as Pioneer Scholars, and the aim is to add four per year and possibly more as the program continues to gain support, according to Michael Ward, executive director of the North Carolina Textile Foundation (NCTF), the fundraising arm of the college.
Offering substantial support to future textile leaders was an easy decision, according to Glen Raven CEO Leib Oehmig, an NCTF board member whose company employs more than 700 people in North Carolina.
“The textile industry remains alive and well, and Glen Raven and our industry peers are continuing to create amazing innovations for the global markets that we all serve,” Oehmig says. “NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles is leading the way in preparing the next generation of leaders that will elevate our industry to new heights. Glen Raven has been around for more than 140 years, and we’re focused on the next 140 years. Therefore, we want to attract the best and brightest to our industry and to Glen Raven. We can think of no better investment than in those deserving students from diverse, underserved geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.”