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Lands Endow Scholarship at ECC

Dr. E.C. and Marlon Land have established the Reverend Asbury and Mrs. William Ethel Batchelor Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Edgecombe Community College. Shown from left are Lynwood Roberson, executive director of the ECC Foundation, Marlon Land, and Dr. E.C. Land.

“Education comes first” was a genuine family motto in the Batchelor household when Marlon Land was growing up.

It makes sense, considering all the struggles her parents endured when they were just trying to find a public school that would accept them.

“My mother had to leave home on two occasions just to finish school,” Land says. “This was in the 1930s through the ’50s, and African-Americans faced multiple challenges.”

Those struggles led Land and her husband, Dr. E.C. Land, to establish the Reverend Asbury and Mrs. William Ethel Batchelor Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Edgecombe Community College to honor Marlon Land’s parents.

“We wanted to advance my parents’ legacy of education at a local institution,” Land explains. “The community college system is important to us because it provides local access to quality education.”

William Ethel Batchelor taught second grade for 30 years at Princeville School, and she also taught Sunday School for many years before she died in 2005. The Rev. Asbury Batchelor was a former Edgecombe County Public Schools board member as well as the former mayor of Princeville and hospital chaplain. He died in 2021.

Lynwood Roberson, executive director of the Edgecombe Community College Foundation, says the Lands were looking for a way to honor her parents, and an endowed scholarship was the ideal fit.

“It’s an endowed scholarship, so it really is a living memorial,” Roberson notes. “It lasts forever.” In an endowed scholarship, funds are invested so that the principal remains untouched. Only the income earned from the investment is used to provide financial support to students.

Land says she watched her parents help numerous individuals growing up, opening their home to students to encourage them on their journey. Sharing with others was commonplace for their family.

“That’s the legacy we want to extend,” she says.

Her parents married after high school graduation, and her father joined the Army and served in the Korean War. He spent 32 years with N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company before retiring as an executive. Land’s mother attended Shaw University before embarking on her teaching career.

“Advances have been made, and education is more accessible now than ever before,” Land says, “but finances are still an issue for many.”

The Lands have donated to national scholarship funds to help medical students, but they wanted her parents’ scholarship to help students in Edgecombe County.

“We wanted to motivate local students to take advantage of opportunities in their backyard,” Land says.

In order to be eligible for the scholarship, students must be African-American residents of Edgecombe County. They must be a graduate of an Edgecombe County high school, have a minimum GPA of 2.75, and must be enrolled full time at ECC.

“We want to advance my parents’ legacy by providing a financial resource to expand educational opportunities for students in the area,” Land adds.