Two students from South Central Virginia have been named Beales Scholars at William & Mary for the upcoming academic year: Jacky Zhu ’26 of Brunswick County is the 2022-2023 recipient of the Harriett Pittard Beales Scholarship and Nora Poling ’26 of Charlotte County has received the 2022-2023 Walter R. Beales, III ’66 Scholarship.

Named in honor of Walter R. Beales III ’66 and the late Harriett Pittard Beales ’34, both merit-based scholarships provide tuition assistance to first-year students from South Central Virginia. Recipients are chosen based on academic performance, extracurricular community activities and service, outstanding character and other personal achievements.

Jacky Zhu
Jacky Zhu ’26

Zhu, who graduated at the top of his class at Brunswick Academy, received his school’s William & Mary Leadership Award. Dedicated to both athletics and academics, he was captain or co-captain of three varsity sports, captain of his scholastic bowl team and senior co-chair of his school’s honor council. In addition, he assisted with his family’s restaurant and worked at another local business. At W&M, he plans to pursue a business major while incorporating computer courses.

One of the top students in her class at Randolph-Henry High School in Charlotte County, Poling participated in The Governor’s School of Southside Virginia and the Early College program with Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC). She remained active in her community throughout high school by volunteering at food distribution sites, organizing blood drives and coaching a youth flag football team. Her dedication to academics earned her a spot in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at SVCC. Poling is interested in pursuing STEM studies at W&M toward a possible career in medicine.

Nora Poling
Nora Poling ’26

Both recipients applied to William & Mary as early decision candidates, saying they fell in love with the campus after visiting and they preferred a smaller liberal arts university to a large institution. Zhu will be the first person in his family to attend college, while Poling continues a family tradition, representing the third generation at W&M.

Scholarship namesake Harriett Pittard Beales of Boydton, Virginia, taught high school, was the organist for her church for over 60 years and was involved in much additional service to her community in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, including mentoring young people, during the 100 years of her life. During her four years at William & Mary, she chaired the Women’s Honor Council, served as vice president of the Women’s Student Government and was also crowned May Queen as a senior. Established in 1984 on the 50th anniversary of Mrs. Beales’ graduation by her sons, Walter Beales ’66 and Randolph A. Beales ’82, the scholarship perpetuates her love of William & Mary and her legacy of mentoring young people. The scholarship has assisted nearly two dozen entering first-year students from a region in South Central Virginia that includes 12 counties and the City of Emporia.

The Walter R. Beales, III ’66 Scholarship was created in his honor in 2016 by his brother, Randolph A. Beales, a member of the Class of 1982 and a judge on the Court of Appeals of Virginia as well as the former attorney general of Virginia. Poling will become the second W&M student to receive this scholarship.

“Both Jacky and Nora already have distinguished themselves as exceptional students at their respective high schools,” said Walter Beales. “My brother, Randolph, and I heartily congratulate them and we extend our best wishes as they begin their time at William & Mary. They will build on a tradition of excellence with each new achievement.”

Founded in 1693, William & Mary is the Alma Mater of the Nation, educating leaders and public servants for over three centuries. William & Mary prides itself on providing a tight­knit liberal arts community while also affording the opportunities of large, modern research universities. With 6,543 undergraduate and 2,974 graduate students enrolled, the university was tied for 10th among the top public institutions in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Colleges rankings. W&M is also ranked ninth for undergraduate teaching.

In addition, the Princeton Review’s annual list of Best Value Colleges for 2022 ranked William & Mary the No. 1 public university in the nation for internships and 13th for career placement. The university is also among the top public schools for making an impact (seventh) and alumni networks (16th) and is ranked 10th among the Top 50 Best Value Public Schools and the Top 20 Best Value Public Colleges Without Aid.