The Batchelders’ two sons graduated from Carolina. So they doubled down and created an Honors Carolina Scholarship to benefit two Carolina students who share an interest in business, history or drama.
After Richard ’84 and Peggy Batchelder’s two sons, Teddy ’20 and Will ’21, got into Carolina and were thriving in the Honors Carolina program, the Batchelders had an idea.
“We thought, well, we’ve got two sons who are fortunate to go to Carolina. Why don’t we make an opportunity to have two other students go to Carolina without having to worry about paying for it?” recalled Richard Batchelder. The Massachusetts couple created the Batchelder Family Honors Carolina Scholarship to benefit two Carolina students who — like Teddy and Will and the Batchelders themselves — share an interest in business, history or drama.
Richard, a longtime attorney who spent years as the recruiting partner for his law firm, also spent four years as a member of Carolina’s Board of Visitors. That experience showed him the ongoing challenge of recruiting top students to Carolina, and the need for additional merit scholarships as one way to help those students choose the best school for them — not just the best school they can afford.
“Telling those students that they’ve been offered a space in Honors Carolina, and that they have been offered an Honors Carolina scholarship, certainly moves the needle,” he said. “You can give Honors Carolina another tool in their toolbox.”
The Batchelders’ decision had an immediate impact. The first two Batchelder Scholars were enrolled as members of the Class of 2022. “It was very rewarding for us,” Richard said. “We felt like we had four kids who went to Carolina.”
One of those “kids” was Sam Hackett ’22, who graduated with a double major in business and sports administration and a minor in history. He also received assured admission to UNC Kenan-Flagler’s undergraduate business program, an accolade given to a small group of high-achieving prospective students each year.
“I was fortunate enough to receive both,” said Hackett, who grew up in a small town near Topsail Beach. “I vividly remember getting that news. I delivered pizzas while I was in high school. I had just gotten home from a shift and I read my email. I sat in my car in my driveway crying.”
A lifetime sports fan and high school soccer player, Hackett did his best to avail himself of all the opportunities Carolina — and Honors Carolina — provided. He contributed to UNCUT, a student-led and athlete-driven storytelling platform. He went on a global immersion trip to South Africa over spring break during his first year. And he co-ran the Carolina Sports Business Club and played sand volleyball during the pandemic. He credits Honors Carolina and the Batchelder Scholarship for giving him the freedom to make the most of his four years in Chapel Hill.
“College can be overwhelming for a freshman straight out of high school, especially a smaller high school,” he said. “Those challenges are exacerbated when you have financial hardships. So having a cushion financially that I could lean on took pressure off my shoulders and made the Carolina experience a little less intimidating.”
Meeting Richard Batchelder during his first year at Carolina also motivated him, said Hackett, who is taking the skills he learned studying business and sports administration at Carolina to his new career in tech integration in San Francisco this fall. “Seeing money coming in from a scholarship is one thing, but meeting the person who gave it to you, and who trusted you to do something meaningful with it — it’s really important.”
Batchelder has always thought of Carolina as a school that draws its students back. He is now serving on the Honors Carolina Advisory Board and is even more convinced that scholarships make a real difference.
“Honors Carolina Scholarships, in my experience, are about as good of a bang for your buck as you can get. I know of no other opportunity where you can have this kind of impact. I would encourage people to think as we did, about the symmetry of having an opportunity to essentially double the experience of your own family by creating opportunities for others.”