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Spotlight: Levine Scholars Transformed in Absarokas

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Spotlight: Levine Scholars Transformed in Absarokas

Date Published:
Friday, August 16, 2013

UNC Charlotte’s fourth class of 15 Levine Scholars is set to embark upon their first semester at the University. But before they enter the classroom, the incoming freshmen recently wrapped up a challenging 25-day leadership experience in Wyoming’s Absaroka Range. The wilderness expedition has become a summer tradition that began with the program’s inaugural class. Guides from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) led the excursion.

The Absaroka Range is a vast wilderness region with some of the most remote territory in the nation. Bordering Yellowstone National Park, the range offers stunning views of snow-covered mountains stretching from the Tetons to Yellowstone to the Wind River Range. The area also features broad river valleys surrounded by sheer, glacier-carved cliffs.

Kelley Shealy, associate director of the Levine Scholars Program, noted the students camped under towering conifers and hiked across alpine plateaus where the tallest plants are only a few inches high. Along with grizzlies, other wildlife in the region includes deer, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, coyote and gray wolves.

NOLS allowed me to realize that everything has the potential to change. From our new perspectives and relationships to the eroding mountains, nothing is set in stone.
— Addison Goff
Class of 2017

"The Levine Scholars Leadership Expedition to Wyoming was a wonderful way to begin the scholars’ UNC Charlotte experience," said Diane Zablotsky, director of the Levine Scholars Program. "In the field, they discovered and experienced the rugged beauty of a new place while getting to know each other, developed leadership skills and began to feel like a group. They will come to campus to begin their freshmen year with a clearer understanding of the scholarship program, an experience similar to older students in the program, and with increased confidence to face the challenges of the coming academic year."

With the addition of the fourth cohort this year, the Levine Scholars Program will have a full contingent of 60 students for the first time in its history ranging from freshmen to seniors.

The scholarships were made possible by philanthropists Leon and Sandra Levine, who committed $9.3 million to UNC Charlotte for the scholarship program to develop community service leaders. Leon Levine is the founder and chairman emeritus of Matthews-based Family Dollar Stores Inc. The scholarships cover the cost of all tuition and fees, housing and meals, books, a laptop computer and summer experiences, including the Wyoming trip. The value of the scholarship is about $90,000 for each in-state student and $140,000 for each out-of-state student.

Visit the Levine Scholars Program's website for more information.