Centre College announces $20 million challenge gift to create new Lincoln Scholars Program for students who want to change the world
An anonymous donor has made a $20 million challenge gift to create the new Lincoln Scholars Program at Centre College.
The full-ride plus scholarship program, created for students who have the capacity and deep desire to change the world, will begin in the fall of 2016 with 10 inaugural recipients. Ten additional Lincoln Scholars will be selected for each subsequent entering class, with 40 Lincoln Scholars enrolled by the fall of 2019.
In addition to covering full tuition, room and board, books and fees for four years, Lincoln Scholars will also receive $10,000 beginning their sophomore year to support educational enrichment opportunities such as study abroad, internships or undergraduate research.
Named for the Kentucky native and 16th president of the United States, the Lincoln Scholars Program seeks to attract Centre students who, like Abraham Lincoln, will make a meaningful impact for good inspired by the “better angels” of their nature.
A statue of Lincoln, created by renowned sculptor Ed Hamilton, was unveiled on the Danville campus in August 2012 as an enduring reminder of the humble Kentuckian’s rise to greatness and his unique relevance to Centre College. The impressive 16-foot artwork commemorates Lincoln’s connection to alumnus John Todd Stuart, Centre Class of 1826. Stuart served with Lincoln in the Blackhawk War, encouraged him to study law and was eventually Lincoln’s first law partner.
The $20 million Lincoln Challenge offers a dollar-for-dollar match and is one of several lead gifts for Centre’s recently launched $200 million Third Century Campaign, the largest in its history. The fundraising effort will conclude on Jan. 21, 2019, the bicentennial anniversary of Centre’s founding in 1819, and will prepare the College for its next 100 years of service.
Once the Lincoln Challenge is complete, the program’s $40 million in funding will help achieve the key focus of the Third Century Campaign. Endowed funds for student scholarships and financial aid represent an overall campaign goal of $130 million. Faculty and academic support ($35 million), campus projects ($25 million) and annual giving ($10 million) comprise the rest of the $200 million campaign.
“Because it focuses above all on student scholarships, the Third Century Campaign will be transformational,” said John A. Roush, president of Centre College.
“More than ever before, thanks to this generous challenge gift, we will be able to fulfill our mission as a place of opportunity. Adding yet another premier scholarship program will help Centre attract the best and brightest young men and women, irrespective of their ability to pay,” Roush said.
In addition to anticipating new students for the Lincoln Scholars Program in fall 2016, Centre will welcome this fall its first participants in the Grissom Scholars Program, a full-tuition scholarship for 10 first-generation students per year, funded by the largest-ever outright gift to the College. The College will also welcome its seventh cohort of Brown Fellows as part of a program offering 10 full-ride plus scholarships per year funded by the James Graham Brown Foundation of Louisville.
By 2019, when all three programs are fully subscribed at 40 students each, along with the Posse Scholars program, now in its ninth year, 160 students will be on full tuition scholarships or better, some 11 percent of Centre’s overall student body.
These scholarship programs enhance Centre’s ongoing commitment to access and opportunity. More than 90 percent of students receive some form of aid and approximately 65 percent receive need-based aid, benefitting from $25 million in institutional aid currently awarded annually by the College.
Students interested in competing for the Lincoln Scholars Program must apply for admission to Centre by Jan. 15 of their senior year, using the free Common Application.
Additional details will follow in the spring of 2015.
by Michael Strysick