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Largest single gift in school history enables Centre to recruit first-generation students

Recruitment has begun at Centre College for the new Grissom Scholars Program, a national scholarship opportunity for first-generation students established with the largest single gift received in the Danville college’s 195-year history.

Although the full amount is not being disclosed at the request of donors Marlene and J. David Grissom, Centre officials believe it to be the largest single donation ever to any Kentucky college or university, public or private, according to a press release.

Centre College's Grissom Scholars program will start in fall of 2015. (Photo from Centre)

Centre College’s Grissom Scholars program will start in fall of 2015. (Photo from Centre)

The Grissom Scholars Program, to begin in fall 2015, will serve as the foundation for Centre’s plan to create a program for exceptionally talented high-need, first-generation college students. Ten Grissom Scholars will be selected from each entering class, with 40 Grissom Scholars enrolled by the fall of 2018.

In addition to a four-year, full tuition scholarship, additional aid to cover remaining financial need will be available to those students who qualify. Grissom Scholars will also receive $5,000 in educational enrichment funds after the successful completion of the first year. These funds can be used to pursue opportunities such as study abroad, independent research and academic internships.

Calling the gift “transformational, John A. Roush, president of Centre College, said: “The Grissom Scholars Program will significantly impact for good the lives of hundreds and thousands of first-generation students in the years and decades to come. Not only will the recipients benefit from this generosity but so will all the many communities, organizations and professions positively influenced by the leadership and service of our Grissom Scholars.”

Designed for first-generation college students with proven academic achievement, high moral character and exceptional potential for leadership, preference will be given to candidates with significant past involvement in extracurricular activities such as the arts, athletics, community life, service, and paid or unpaid work. Candidates should also possess the ambition and intellectual curiosity necessary to succeed in a rigorous academic environment.

In the summer before their first year at Centre, Grissom Scholars will participate in an orientation program focused on personal growth and team-building designed by Sarah Scott Hall, associate dean and director of the Grissom Scholars Program and Student Leadership. Grissom Scholars will also be provided with personal guidance and ongoing mentoring throughout their college career.

Interested candidates must apply for admission to Centre by Jan. 15, using the free Common Application, and also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Centre Aid Form by Jan. 31.

Competitive candidates will then be invited to submit a separate Grissom Scholars application due in mid-February. Approximately 30 finalists will travel to campus at the College’s expense for an interview weekend in March, with awards announced in early April.

High school counselors are encouraged to nominate outstanding candidates by completing an online nomination form here.

From Centre College

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