Senior Claims Counsel John Hester Creates new Endowed Scholarship- NCSU
Belinda and John Hester created a new endowed scholarship for Native American students who attend North Carolina State University. It is believed that this is the first scholarship specifically for Native Americans in North Carolina.
In a Legacy Statement Belinda and John stated:
"We are honored to be founding, charter members, and continuing supporters of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. As people who appreciate Native American culture and art, we know that Native Americans are the most underserved members of our society. It is unfortunate that they are viewed as historical figures from films rather than their vibrant, strong culture that exists today which should be celebrated and honored. In an effort to make a difference, albeit small, in the educational opportunities of Native American students attending NC State University, we created this scholarship. There is no requirement to prove Native American ancestry, but the student should demonstrate a strong connection to Native American peoples and culture. We hope this will encourage more Native American students to attend NC State and consider majoring or minoring in history."
John and Belinda met in 1968 when they were freshmen at NCSU. John's North Carolina family heritage and connection to NCSU run deep. John's family arrived in what later became Raleigh in 1690 and his grandfather, Alanzo Hester, was an architect and contractor who built many of the older buildings at NCSU in the early 1900s. His dad, Fred Hester, was a water boy for the construction teams for the Patterson and Ricks Halls in the 1920s and was a member of the NCSU class of 1933. John's history in Raleigh includes involvement in filming the 1961 movie To Kill A Mockingbird and while a student at Raleigh’s Broughton High School in 1965, he began an effort to lower the voting age to 18. He remained involved at the state and national levels until the Constitutional Amendment was ratified in 1971. John is a graduate of the 1972 NCSU History Department and is an attorney. He was active in student government and was elected Student Senate President in 1971. His service has continued over the years, serving for nine years on the College of Humanities Dean’s Advisory Council and for the last 49 years on the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity board of trustees at NCSU. In 1985 John joined Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co of NC and currently serves as their Senior Claims Counsel. John received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Triangle Business Journal in 2013.
Belinda is a retired educator after teaching first grade in North Carolina for more than 32 years. She was National Environmental Teacher of the Year in 1997 and served as President of the State 4-H Board of Directors in 2010. She previously established two other endowments at NCSU including the 4-H “Think Green, Go Green” scholarship in the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Spears-Hester Environmental Scholarship in the College of Natural Resources. She is an avid gardener and has something blooming in her yard throughout the year.
John and Belinda Hester live in Raleigh and have four sons: Nathan, John Jr., Andrew, and Wei Zheng, who all reside with their families in the triangle area.
Original Press Release prepared by NC State University
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