MPA Student Angelica Foster Receives UNC Harvey Beech Scholarship

by Stephen Wright

This year, an MPA student with a record of service and dedication to the public interest was recognized with the prestigious Harvey Beech Scholarship.

As a child welfare advocate and online student in the Master of Public Administration program here at the School of Government, Angelica Foster feels that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and especially the UNC MPA program, was the only choice she could have made in pursuit of her master’s degree. To her, becoming a 2024 recipient of the UNC Harvey Beech Scholarship solidified that choice and builds upon the legacy of the first African American to graduate from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law. 

The Harvey Beech Scholarship is awarded annually to UNC-Chapel Hill students interested in careers in law. Recipients are selected based on academic progression, GPA improvement, and contributions to campus life. Only five Carolina students receive the award per year.

The award is named for Harvey Beech, who was born in Kinston, North Carolina, in 1923. He attended Harris Barber College in Raleigh and later Morehouse College in Atlanta alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1950, Beech was asked to join a court case that would ultimately lead to him and four other African American students being admitted to UNC School of Law in 1951. Beech graduated in 1952 and had a successful career as a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer for more than 35 years, becoming a well-regarded civic leader in his hometown of Kinston. Beech would ultimately pass away in 2005, having paved the way for other African American students to attend and transform UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Foster saw a kinship with Harvey Beech’s advocacy and serves as a child welfare advocate herself. Her belief that no child should go through the pains of abuse and mistreatment, along with deeply personal experience with the issue, informs her desire to one day serve as a family court judge and be avoice for children. For her, public service means becoming a “force for leadership and change,” rising to occasion and paving the way forward. 

For Foster, receiving this scholarship is more than a means of furthering her own public service goals; it is a testament to all that African Americans have done, and must still do to create a place for themselves at Carolina.  

“My ancestors built this university but could not attend it,” said Foster. “They built this university and did not have a choice. Harvey Beech paved the way forward.” She also highlights that as a Black woman, “It’s not about glass ceilings, it’s almost like cement; it’s just that much harder. I do this because my ancestors could not, and to pave the way for my own daughter and others to come.”

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