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Christopher Wilson, '23

Extending the Web to Better Society

April 4, 2023

Leadership Studies senior uplifts communities in Richmond and beyond

Christopher Wilson, ’23, was drawn to the University of Richmond by the promise of unlimited opportunities. Scholarship support gave him the financial access needed to pursue his dreams. As he prepares to graduate with an impressive resume and accepted job offer, Wilson looks forward to leveraging his Richmond experience to strengthen communities.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Wilson heard about UR as a high school student participating in college prep programming through nonprofit organizations REACH Memphis and Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA). After hearing a passionate UR student speaker share about her breadth of undergraduate experiences, Wilson was set on becoming a Spider.
“I left the program feeling like, ‘this is the university,’” he said. “This is the place where all my dreams can come true. It’s just going to be a matter of how I can fit it all in to four years.”
He arrived on campus in August 2019 and hit the ground running, deciding to major in leadership studies and minor in business administration. Through his classes at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, Wilson has gained a comprehensive understanding of leadership, civic engagement, and ethical and political philosophy.
“I’m currently doing an independent study with Dr. [Marilie] Coetsee about the ethics of moral disagreement,” he said. “I’m looking at this topic from the perspective of [American philosopher] John Rawls and exploring how I can apply my interpretations to contemporary issues. I want to stake my claim as to what I think our political leaders should be doing so we can move the needle in the right direction towards a better future.”
In addition to his studies, Wilson is a cultural advisor with the Student Center for Equity and Inclusion and member of the Bonner Scholars Program in the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement (CCE). Bonner Scholars make a four-year commitment to participate in community engagement activities on and off campus. As part of the program, Wilson completed internships with the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation and CCE’s professional development cohort. He currently serves as a CCE program associate supporting fellow senior Bonner Scholars. In total, he has completed around 900 to 1,000 hours of community service. He has also done internships at Caissa Public Strategy, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, LEDA Policy Corps, Tanger Outlets, and Capital One.
“When you engage with the community, not only can you find your own sense of community, but you also gain skills and learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before,” he said. “The Bonner Scholars Program teaches you how to chart a life of consequence.”
Donor generosity played a significant role in Wilson’s Richmond experience as a first generation, low-income student. Financial support from the Cindy and Dennis Pryor Scholarship and the Howard Family Scholarship provided Wilson with the resources needed to fund his education, allowing him to graduate debt free.
“When you’re a student, you should only have to focus on being a student, not on how you’ll pay for your education,” he said. “I’m sincerely grateful to the families who helped fund my education, and I hope one day I can do that for another student.”
Wilson said he aims to honor this generosity by giving back to society in meaningful ways as a Spider alumnus. After graduation, he will begin his career at Capital One as a human resources rotational program associate in McLean, Va. He hopes to attend graduate school and continue to find opportunities to be civically engaged in the community.
“I hope to use the knowledge and networks I've gained at UR to uplift historically underrepresented and marginalized communities,” he said. “The essence of this philosophy empowers me to decide how I can contribute to social change. And to me, that's what being a Spider should be: finding ways to extend our web to better society for good.”
Scholarships provide access and affordability to deserving students like Christopher Wilson, ’23. To learn more about supporting or creating a scholarship, contact