Anatomy of a Gift

Giving Back to Help Others Move Forward
Dee Dee Weiner with one of her scholarship donors, Waid Shelton (Photo by Peter Lorenz)

Dee Dee Weiner, a sophomore political science major from Fort Myers, Florida, and the recipient of the Shelton Endowed Scholarship at UNC Asheville has something in common with her scholarship donor: Both have been orientation leaders for their universities. Waid Shelton led orientation at his university decades ago, and Weiner will be the head orientation leader of the Blue Crew this coming summer, in charge of welcoming the newest Bulldogs to campus. It’s her way of giving back.

“I fell in love with Asheville pretty much immediately upon my arrival to the city. The mountains, the accepting environment, and the overall feeling I had when I was on campus attracted me to UNC Asheville. As soon as I visited my mind was made up, and I knew that no other university could compare,” she says. “I have loved seeing the excitement and joy that comes with new students’ first experience at UNC Asheville, and I hope to work with the Office of Transition and Parent Programs facilitating this process throughout my time here.”

“I have told my donor in person, but I am really so grateful for their selflessness in donating to my education. It has inspired me to work harder so that I can one day do for someone what they did for me,” said Weiner. 

Having that time has come, in part, as the result of the Shelton Scholarship, which Weiner credits with allowing her to continue studying at UNC Asheville. The need-based scholarship is funded by Babbie and Waid Shelton, who first learned of UNC Asheville through their daughter-in-law Rachel Brock Shelton ’08. Since moving to Asheville three years ago, they’ve become more connected to the university, including funding the scholarship in that time. Like Weiner’s work with orientation, it’s the Sheltons’ way of giving back.

“I certainly would not have received the education I did without a scholarship. I am very grateful for that,” said Shelton, a retired physician who has worked with post-graduate students for many years. “I also appreciated my interactions with the donor. I carried that sense of gratitude and sense of responsibility forward, and I want to do a similar thing for other people.”

Meeting each other, as Weiner and Waid Shelton did during the annual scholarship brunch, creates an opportunity to put faces with names and talk more about their experiences.

“These students are often very dedicated. Their energy and optimism is infectious,” said Babbie and Waid Shelton, in agreement.

“I have told my donor in person, but I am really so grateful for their selflessness in donating to my education. It has inspired me to work harder so that I can one day do for someone what they did for me,” said Weiner.