The John M. Belk Scholarship: Paying it forward. March 1, 2014

Lejla Agic is a daily reminder of why we’re here. She embodies the spirit of students who have overcome tremendous obstacles. As a small child, Lejla and her family were forced to flee their war-torn homeland of Bosnia. They left with nothing, going first to Turkey, then to the U.S. after obtaining legal permission to enter. Her parents learned two new cultures and two foreign languages just to survive. Lejla knows what it means to lose everything, but she also knows the importance of the things that can never be taken away: education and experiences.


Lejla earned a John M. Belk Scholarship in 2007, after proving to be a standout student at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. Her high school career is sprinkled with achievements: She served as a peer tutor, lettered in varsity basketball, soccer and crew, founded a school publication, and worked to establish cultural connections with high schools in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. When she was invited to Davidson as a final scholarship candidate, she immediately warmed to the Davidson culture and was impressed by the academic rigor, stringent honor code and strong community spirit. She wrote in her admissions application, “I believe I have all the elements necessary to thrive here: compassion, energy, and a desire to make a difference.”

Since graduating in 2011, Lejla has worked for Deloitte Consulting LLP, collaborating with top business leaders to plan strategy, improve processes and manage a wide variety of projects. She plans to attend Columbia Business School with a focus on international business, beginning in the fall of 2014. Lejla firmly believes that economic and political reform can be achieved through collaborative business initiatives, and she looks forward to initiating positive change. Lejla also continues to be involved with an organization called “Education Builds Bosnia and Herzegovina,” for which she plans programming, assists with refugee efforts, and holds sports equipment drives for underprivileged children.

Lejla credits the John M. Belk Scholarship for the “transformational experience” she enjoyed at Davidson. She was able to study at one of the nation’s best schools and become ingrained in a melting pot of people and cultures. The summer stipends and full year of study abroad allowed her to explore personal interests in international business and human services. And all the while, Lejla says the scholarship served as a constant reminder that good people believe in her and want to see her succeed and leave a lasting mark on the world around her.