Moriah Walton of Wylie nearly collapsed when she heard she had won the largest private transfer scholarship for community college students in the U.S.

Walton is one of only 85 college students in the nation selected for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, and her win marks the third time in three years that a Collin College student has received the scholarship.

Mac Hendricks, chair of the Collin College Board of Trustees surprises Collin College student Moriah Walton with the news that she is the recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke scholarship.

Photos by Nick Young, Collin College

Mac Hendricks, chair of the Collin College Board of Trustees surprises Collin College student Moriah Walton with the news that she is the recipient of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke scholarship.


“I didn’t think I could afford a university. This is like the Rhodes Scholarship for me. This is perfect timing!” she exclaimed.

Pausing, she placed her hand over her mouth for a moment.

“I just realized I won’t have any debt,” said Walton, so overwhelmed with emotion that her hands literally shook.

Walton will receive up to $30,000 a year to complete her bachelor’s degree. She plans to transfer to a university to pursue a degree in communication. Ultimately, she plans to write the great merican novel.

Collin College Board of Trustees Chairman Mac Hendricks presented Walton with a gold medallion from the college.

“This is the third time I have had the privilege of hanging a medal around the neck of a Jack Kent Cooke scholar at Collin College. Moriah is a wonderful representative of the diligent, intelligent students we have at Collin College,” said Hendricks.

A published writer, Walton writes for the Wylie Connection in addition to working 50-60 hours a week at a host of jobs including babysitting, tutoring and waxing floors to pay for her education at Collin College. Impressed by her great need and tenacity, her professors helped her acquire scholarships from the Collin College Foundation. A Phi Theta Kappa committee member, Walton is currently the vice president of the Student Government Association, and she was elected to state office. She has also served as an orientation leader and student ambassador at the college.

Moriah Walton

Moriah Walton

Last year, Jennifer Buchan of Frisco won the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. A Collin College graduate, she plans to graduate with a degree in English from the University of North Texas in 2015. The previous year, Cameron Woolley of Plano won the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. He is currently attending Southern Methodist University and plans to earn degrees in economics and philosophy and ultimately intends to practice law.

According to Collin College District President Cary A. Israel, “It takes great perseverance and strength of character to work, attend college full time and serve the community. Moriah sets a superb example for her four siblings and students across the country, and she is very deserving of this award. It is no accident that three students in a row have won this award. We have exceptional students and a dedicated, quality faculty at Collin College.”

Israel notes that prior to receiving the scholarship, transferring to a university was simply a dream for Walton.

“Many other deserving students will not have this opportunity, and that is why scholarships are critical,” he said.

The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship helps students with tuition, living expenses, books and fees for the final two to three years of courses required for baccalaureate degrees.

Criteria for the scholarship include academic ability and achievement, financial need, self-confidence, resilience and the desire to engage in and contribute to the world. The competition is judged by a panel of distinguished university faculty and admissions professionals.


About Collin College

Collin College serves nearly 53,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate in a wide range of disciplines. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development. For more information visit