Dear Alumni and Friends,
With the fall semester in full swing, we are welcoming a new crop of students into the Alumni family through our flourishing scholarship program. What began as a simple idea in 1990 – to support future alumni with student scholarships – has grown into a thriving program that has surpassed our wildest dreams. This year alone we have awarded 395 scholarships totaling $863,000!
What is so wonderful about our scholarship program is the personal review process we afford each applicant. We seek to identify the most well-rounded, involved and engaged students – something that cannot be gleaned from a GPA or standardized test score. Make no mistake. Our scholars are among the best and brightest! They are receiving national recognition, serving in University of Arkansas leadership positions, studying abroad world-wide and blazing new trails. Each year I am amazed by the achievements of our scholars.
Take Mike Norton, a “Roads” scholarship recipient from Prairie Grove, Arkansas, pursuing a double major in poultry science and agricultural business. During his junior year, Mike was selected to receive a Harry S. Truman Scholarship worth $30,000 toward graduate school study. This highly competitive nationwide award selects recipients based on their academic and leadership achievements along with their potential to become public service leaders through the government or non-profit sector. Chosen from a pool of 587 applicants, Mike plans to use his award to further his study of economics and public policy and plans to return to Arkansas to work on the state’s societal-level diabetes and obesity epidemic.
And then there are students like Sydney Dickson. Sydney is from Joplin, Missouri, and just began her sophomore year as a civil engineering major. A recipient of the Alumni Endowed Scholarship, Sydney became an active member of the UA community from the moment she stepped on campus. As a freshman member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Sydney wrote a mini-grant proposal seeking funds for their chapter to promote geological sciences to Native Americans. Her grant was accepted, and Sydney will be traveling to Alaska this semester to attend the AISES conference. Because the Alumni scholarship helps to defray the cost of attendance, Sydney was afforded the opportunity to participate in two study abroad programs this summer. In Dangriga, Belize, Sydney and fellow engineering students had the opportunity to build on their classroom experience by working on two water filtration systems and building a tourist booth. Sydney then traveled to India for six weeks to learn about globalization, the international workplace and how science, engineering and business are integrated into the country’s modern economy.
Don’t these students both impress and inspire you? I know I am inspired daily by their achievements, drive and ambition. If these brief examples have emboldened you to become involved, I welcome your help. Here are four easy ways to become involved with our growing Alumni Scholarship Program:
- Maintain membership in the Alumni Association. Your membership supports current student scholarships for high achievers facing financial obstacles. This year we awarded $65,000 in Membership Scholarships.
- Purchase a “Hog Tag.” If you live in Arkansas, Missouri or Texas, a portion of the collegiate license plate fees supports scholarships for University of Arkansas students. Through our Arkansas program, we have awarded more than $2.3 million since it began in 1994.
- Invest in a student and donate to our scholarship program. Visit the annual fund and make a donation for Arkansas Alumni Association Scholarships.
- Volunteer to serve on the Scholarship Selection Committee. The committee is comprised of 35 alumni volunteers who have a passion for students and education. Each February they assemble for two days to review more than 500 applications and identify the Association’s freshman recipients.
Thank you for your membership in the Alumni Association and the opportunity it affords me to work with outstanding students through our scholarship program. I welcome your comments, suggestions and questions.
Robin January BSBA’98
Arkansas Alumni Association