Stories of Excellence–Richard Whitfield

Richard Lowder Whitfield stands out amongst his peers. A driven and dedicated 2020 Mooresville High School (MHS) and Mitchell Community College graduate, Whitfield was recently honored with one of the most prestigious scholarship in North Carolina. His big plans began locally though, with the support of family and friends, unique educational opportunities and coursework at his local college. Whitfield’s time at Mitchell has certainly built a firm foundation for a future of excellence.


Whitfield was an active student while at MHS, serving as student body treasurer, vice president, and president. In addition to activities and opportunities at MHS, Whitfield elected to take part in Mitchell’s Career and College Promise (CCP) program while completing his high school coursework. “The program offered opportunities the high school wasn’t able to offer,” he noted. He took as many online and seated classes with Mitchell as his schedule allowed, taking on a challenge of completing six courses before transferring.


Whitfield enjoyed his time on Mitchell’s campus and was struck by how relatable and skilled his Mitchell instructors were. Working with students from various backgrounds and demographics provided Whitfield with new perspectives and better prepared him for his transition to a diverse four-year institution.


In the fall, Whitfield will be heading to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with one of the most prestigious scholarships offered by the school–the Morehead-Cain Scholarship. He is one of only 37 Morehead-Cain Scholars selected this year from North Carolina. Only 70 total scholars were selected this year worldwide.


UNC has been Whitfield’s number one choice of universities from a young age. Both of his parents attended UNC where they met and began dating. His older brother Michael is a rising senior at UNC and was a semi-finalist for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship. The Whitfield family cat even bears the name Carolina Girl.


Whitfield intends to major in biomedical engineering and plans to utilize the dual program with UNC and North Carolina State University. He also wants to explore history as a secondary major or a minor, noting history's importance to a knowledgeable society. Ever involved in extracurricular activities, Whitfield also plans to seek a position in student government at UNC and to continue playing tennis. He may even take a shot at donning the well-loved Rameses costume as a team mascot.


Once Whitfield graduates, he intends to take a few years to work in his chosen field before pursuing a graduate degree. More than anything, Whitfield hopes to use his education to give back to his hometown of Mooresville. He also wants to continue to develop and diversify in his knowledge base and interests.


Undoubtedly, Whitfield is a uniquely driven young man. However, he largely attributes his success to the encouragement he received from his family and community. When asked what advice he could give to future CCP students or UNC hopefuls, he said “Make sure to stay organized with a planner and stick to a schedule. It is important also to take time for extracurricular activities as well.” Whitfield sagely advises students to “branch out in your interests and try new things that you may not consider doing normally, and make sure to schedule time for yourself and for fun with friends.”  Whitfield’s dedication, passion, and dreams are sure to take him far.


The Morehead-Cain Scholarship fully funds recipients for four years and four summers. It offers a world-class education and immersion in a vibrant student body. Beyond just the general classroom experience, the scholarship provides a unique experience for students each summer including an outdoor leadership experience, community immersion and impact experience, a global excursion, and internships. Upon graduating, scholars join a thriving community of Morehead-Cain Alumni which provides networking and mentorship opportunities. Morehead-Cain Scholars are “driven leaders possessing the rare combination of potential, principle, and purpose.” Recipients must be nominated by their high school, have excellent grades and extensive extracurricular activities and complete several rounds of interviews. Learn more about this year’s Morehead-Cain scholars linked here.


CCP at Mitchell allows students to earn college credits at a fraction of the cost while working toward a high school diploma. High school students can get a jump-start on earning college credits while still enrolled in a traditional high school. Eligible students may earn college transfer credits, workforce credentials or both! Learn more about CCP linked here


Explore degrees, diploma and certificate programs Mitchell offers and find out how to apply. Gain a new skill or expand your career opportunities through our short-term Continuing Education programs. For additional support, speak to an advisor at (704) 978-5493 or 

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