Marilyn Lester and William Lester Scholarship

The Lester Scholarship Fund was established by Marilyn Lester to reflect the pride that she and her late brother, William (Bill) Lester, felt in being Asheville natives and their affection for growing up in Asheville. Most especially, Marilyn Lester wanted to express appreciation for the education she and Bill Lester received in the Asheville City Schools system, particularly at Lee Edwards High School (now Asheville High School).

Marilyn and Bill's mother, Nina, encouraged them to consider any college or university for their own education "as long as it was in North Carolina and state-supported." Her confidence in North Carolina's system of state universities to provide an excellent education is honored by this scholarship, which provides an award for study at specific state institutions.

This scholarship offers a renewable award to help recipients with their educational expenses.


$10,000 renewable for 3 more years

Number Of Awards

Three Awards


Jan. 22, 2024


Graduating seniors of Asheville High School planning to attend one of the following state institutions in North Carolina: Appalachian State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, or Western Carolina University. Please note that even if selected to receive the award, the scholarship will not be paid to a student who chooses to attend a school not listed above. Awards are for full time attendance in a standard course of study.

CFWNC ensures that all scholarship recipients are selected on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis and that selections are based on specific guidelines and criteria for each fund.

Selection Criteria

  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Academic ability/achievement (minimum 3.5 GPA in a challenging academic curriculum)
  • Median or above performance on standardized tests (SAT or ACT)
  • Active participation in extracurricular activities in school and community
  • In addition to the personal and college statements requested as part of the application, an essay is an additional required component of the application for this scholarship. Please submit in the application a composition (2 double spaced pages) on your feelings and experiences growing up in or living in Asheville and how you think this will impact your future

To Apply

To apply, students must complete an application online. The application, with required attachments, must be submitted online on or before the deadline. Award Year 2024 closed.

Application Procedure

The scholarship program is administered by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Please direct any questions about this scholarship to the foundation, at

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