By MARY BURGER – STAFF WRITER
As of a recent anonymous donation, a new scholars program joins the ranks of the existing Brown Fellows Program, Posse Program, Bonner Scholars Program, and incoming Grissom Scholars Program. Named the Lincoln Scholars Program, this scholarship opportunity seeks to financially aid incoming students with a strong initiative to “change the world.”
“It would be fair to say that each program appeals to high-achieving students who want to make a meaningful impact through leadership and service, though we imagine Lincoln Scholars will have a particular desire and capacity to ‘change the world’ in an area or field where they have already identified a significant intellectual capacity, talent, and passion,” Director of Communications Michael Strysick said.
The Lincoln Scholars Program will begin in the fall semester of 2016. It consists of a competitive, full-ride-plus scholarship for students. As with many such programs, ten students will be admitted each class.
So the fall semester of 2020 will be the first with scholars in each year, totaling 40 students.
“Because we are still in conversation with the donors about requirements for admission to the Lincoln Scholars Program, all I can tell you at this point is that prospective Lincoln Scholars will be required to apply and be admitted to Centre College. Likewise, while I am confident in saying that Lincoln Scholars will be expected to maintain a high GPA, I do not yet have a number to attach to that expectation,” Vice President for College Relations Richard Trollinger said.
While there will be some overlap within the various full-ride scholarship programs, the defining characteristic of the Lincoln Scholars Program will be a strong desire to “change the world.”
“Candidates will have to demonstrate in some as yet undefined fashion that it is their deep-seated desire. The Brown Fellows Program is a merit scholarship and enrichment program for outstanding students, the Posse Program is geographically based, the Bonner Scholars Program is for students who are committed to service, and the new Grissom Scholars Program is for first-generation students.”
“To be sure, there are and will be some overlapping characteristics typical of the young men and women who are chosen for these various scholarship programs, but there are also distinctions,” Trollinger said.
It is also unique that a liberal arts school the size of Centre, which does not have an endowment above one billion dollars, does have multiple scholars program to fund a variety of different students.
“We have seen this impact already since the announcement of the Grissom Scholars Program, designed for first-generation college students. Not only have our applications increased year-to-date, but first-generation students comprise 25 percent of this year’s total applicant pool. Announcement of the Brown Fellows Program had a similar impact, and we have also seen the academic profile of our students continue to rise. These new programs build upon the success and foundation of our more established programs like Posse and Bonner,” Strysick said.
Centre’s affiliation with Abraham Lincoln through alumnus John Todd Stuart (Class of 1826), led to the name of this new program. “Lincoln Scholar” was chosen by the donors, who wish to remain anonymous.
“They suggested Lincoln … believing that Lincoln epitomizes the determination, motivation, and leadership qualities they want to champion through this scholarship program,” Trollinger said.
The program hopes to attract applicants from around the world, and Lincoln’s fame and impact boost this international legacy.
The Lincoln Scholars Program is one of several aspects of the Third Century campaign. The donors have committed $20 million and challenge more to add to this amount. They believe that in order to improve the world, one must “change the world.”
“One of their theories of change is that you bet on exceptional people to lead that change. They have given those of us at Centre the opportunity to identify such people, even as they are coming out of high school, bring them to our campus for their undergraduate educations, and to equip them to achieve their life’s purpose,” Trollinger said.
The donors strongly believe in Centre College and its ability to augment world change.