Grissom Scholars Program at Centre College Offers Scholarship to Talented First-Generation Students


Centre College has launched Grissom Scholars Program to provide full tuition scholarships to talented first-generation college students, effective fall 2015.

The college officials are planning to select 10 Grissom Scholars, whose parents did not receive a four-year degree, from each entering class. They estimate that as many as 40 Grissom Scholars will be enrolled by the fall of 2018.

Besides the four-year full tuition scholarship of $37,100, additional aid to cover remaining financial needs will also be available to these scholars. Plus, selected students will receive $5,000 in educational enrichment funds after the completion of their first year to pursue opportunities like study abroad, independent research and academic internships.

Grissom Scholars Program is established by Marlene and J. David Grissom, thanks to their largest single gift in the school's 195-year history. Grissom, a lawyer and banker in Louisville, graduated from Centre in 1960 and chaired the Board of Trustees for more than two decades.

"For a college so firmly committed to a mission of high achievement and high opportunity, this generous gift is, in a word, transformational," said John A. Roush, president of Centre College in a statement. "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," Roush said.

Roush also said that Grissoms were inspired to remove the economic inequality on college campuses across the nation.

"There is a sense that young people who are labeled first-generation don't imagine that college is within their reach," Roush added. "This program is the foundation piece for being sure that 30 years from now, the opportunity to have access to the American dream does exist at Centre," Kentucky reports.

Besides focusing on academic achievements, Grissom scholars will also be selected based on their moral character, leadership qualities, intellectual curiosity and extracurricular activities like arts, community life and service.

"Nationally, we have a need-based financial aid system that is a tangled thicket of confusion, even to the most sophisticated families. It's a confusing process, and sticker prices on colleges are off-putting even to families of means. One of the great things about this program is it communicates very clearly to students: We're going to take care of you," said Bob Nesmith, Centre's dean of admissions.

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