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National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has released the names of the first group of winners in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

John Marshall High School senior Austin Williams is one of the more than 1,000 distinguished high school seniors who has won a corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship award financed by about 160 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National

Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

Williams will attend West Virginia University in August where he will major in Civil Engineering. He is the son of Edward and Rebecca Williams of Moundsville.

Funding for these National Merit Scholarships is provided by corporate organizations that represent nearly all sectors of American industry. Sponsors from the business community have underwritten awards offered in all 64 competitions, expending or committing more than $804 million to support the intellectual development of the nation’s scholastically talented youth.