Student Scholars Carry Shelton’s Legacy Forward

Shelton Leadership scholars work with children in Costa Rica.

Retired Army Gen. H. Hugh Shelton’s legacy endures at his alma mater, where a namesake scholarship helps students develop as leaders and public servants.

Launched in 2002, the Shelton Scholarships focus on cultivating “values-based leadership” in students, according to Mike Davis, coordinator of scholarships and strategic partnerships at the Shelton Leadership Center.

“This is one of the first things we started when we launched the Shelton Center,” Davis said. “When General Shelton retired from the Joint Chiefs, he wanted to give back to NC State.”

Alongside the upcoming Shelton Leadership Forum and the center’s executive education programs, the two Shelton scholarships are pillars of Shelton’s ongoing contribution to the university and North Carolina.

The four-year Shelton National Leadership Scholarship supports incoming freshmen with strong academic credentials and demonstrated leadership potential. The three-year Shelton-Caldwell Fellows Scholarship goes to a select group of students already participating in the Caldwell Fellows program.

Both scholarships do more than pay for classes. Shelton scholars learn about leadership etiquette and protocol, study overseas, work in internships and participate in community service.

The scholarship also gives students the opportunity to interact with the Sheltons. Each semester, scholars spend a weekend near the Sheltons’ eastern North Carolina home, working on service projects designed by Hugh and Carolyn Shelton. These service weekends always feature dinner and freewheeling conversation with Shelton, one of NC State’s most accomplished alumni.

“He just treats you like a member of his family,” said Kaitlyn Sutton, a Shelton National scholar and sophomore business major. “He truly cares about us as people. He knows what I’m involved in, and he knows what I’m looking to do with my life.”

Service Overseas and in the Oak City

Service is a major component of the Shelton scholars’ experience. Cristian del Valle, a sophomore chemical engineering major from Bogota, Colombia, spent this past summer in the Galapagos Islands helping develop an online database of local businesses that cater to tourists. The system was intended to level the playing field for small, local shops and restaurants that lack the marketing budgets of their corporate competitors, del Valle said.

“It’s a win-win situation, giving the tourists a positive impression of the community and letting the community prosper, too,” says del Valle, a Shelton-Caldwell Fellow.

Scholar service has local impact, too. Recently, the Shelton scholars have worked with the Oak City Outreach Center, which distributes food to the hungry in downtown Raleigh. Led by scholar Will Pfitzner, the group has built planters and benches from repurposed wood pallets for the Raleigh charity.

The Shelton scholar experience — balancing service, leadership and academics — offers a glimpse of the future, Sutton said.

“It really gives me an idea of what a life of service looks like beyond school,” she said. “It gives me an idea of what I want my life to look like, serving the community in meaningful, impactful ways.”

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