With its latest generous commitment, the Owens Foundation has created the Carroll W. Owens, Jr. Scholarship Endowment at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in honor of Carroll W. Owens, Jr. ’62, the father of two W&M alumni. Funds distributed from this endowment will provide scholarship, internship and living expense stipend support for Master of Arts graduate students at W&M’s School of Marine Science.
This is the first endowed academic and internship scholarship for the Professional Master of Arts program, which was added to VIMS’ Master of Science and Ph.D. offerings in fall 2021. The new interdisciplinary degree, which was championed by Owens, allows graduates to explore the intersections between marine science and other professional fields, such as communications, data analysis, public policy and business.
The program is a key component of the water initiative in William & Mary’s Vision 2026 strategic plan. Students in the M.A. program gain cross-industry skills that will help establish William & Mary as a leader in finding innovative solutions to ensure the resilience of the world’s oceans, coasts and waterways.
“Scholarships transform our world by investing in the next generation of fearless and principled leaders,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “With this commitment, the Owens family ensures the future stewards of our world’s water resources can complete their studies without financial burden.”
The scholarship’s name honors Owens’ lifelong commitment to VIMS. Owens, who passed away in 2019, was a member of the W&M Foundation and VIMS Foundation boards and a member and chairman emeritus of the VIMS Council. His generosity contributed to the Center for Coastal Resources Management Fellowships Program, established the Juliette B. and Carroll W. Owens, Sr. Fellowship Endowment for a graduate student at VIMS, provided funding for public-facing educational spaces on campus, and helped expand VIMS’ outreach efforts as the charter supporter of VIMS Marine Science Day, now in its 20th year.
In 1997, Owens received the Alumni Medallion, the highest award given by the W&M Alumni Association, in honor of his dedication to W&M, his professional accomplishments and his service to his community.
“Carroll was gifted with remarkable vision. He would be pleased to know this scholarship in his memory will be awarded to VIMS students pursuing the newly established master’s degree, allowing opportunity to spread good news of VIMS in innovative ways,” said his wife, Patrisia “Patty” B. Owens ’62.
On April 29, the Owens Foundation and the Owens family were honored with the Pathfinder Award, the highest external honor bestowed by VIMS. Given annually, the award recognizes individuals who have displayed an enduring commitment to VIMS’ three-part mission of research, education and advisory service. Carroll W. Owens, Jr. previously received the award in 2005.
“Dad focused a lot of his energy and resources towards VIMS because he believed it to be so much more than what was between the academic walls of the buildings. He knew that the institution, upon reaching its full potential, could impact the nation and the world,” said Carroll W. “Coby” Owens III M.B.A. ’92, the father of a 2020 W&M graduate.
The Owens Foundation has also been a generous contributor to W&M’s Muscarelle Museum of Art and its upcoming expansion, which will position the Muscarelle Museum of Art as a state-of-the-art regional venue for world-class exhibitions and robust academic programs. Among other areas of support are the Monroe Scholarship, W&M Athletics and the Alumnae Initiatives Endowment.
“Carroll loved the bay and VIMS,” said Donnie Owens ’65, J.D. ’71, Carroll’s brother. “He devoted much of his time and resources in support of VIMS and the work it does to benefit the bay. Through this scholarship, his efforts will continue through the accomplishments of those who receive it.”
Editor’s note: Water is one of four cornerstone initiatives in W&M’s Vision 2026 strategic plan. Visit the Vision 2026 website to learn more