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Boston University on June 13 honored 65 Boston public high school graduates who will receive scholarships for their BU undergraduate education over the next four years.
“I like to think Boston University and the city of Boston are mutually supporting,” said President Robert A. Brown. “We want the city we call home to succeed and prosper, and we want students from Boston to enjoy the benefit of a world-class Boston University education.”
Brown and Mayor Martin J. Walsh congratulated each of the recipients at a ceremony at Questrom School of Business.
“Congratulations to all of our Boston Public School students who have excelled in their studies and have earned a scholarship to pursue higher education at one of Boston’s premier institutions,” said Walsh. “Boston University has proven to be a community partner that is committed to making college accessible to students in our city and beyond. I have no doubt that each and every scholar will go on to accomplish great things for our community and our world.”
Twenty-five of the recipients are Thomas M. Menino Scholars and will receive four-year, full-tuition scholarships, a commitment totaling more than $5 million over the next four years. They will attend an intensive weeklong academic orientation to prepare them for the challenge of college-level learning and an ongoing support program. Recipients are nominated by their schools for the merit-based award and selected for their ability to face the intellectual challenges at BU and for their potential to contribute to the University community and society.
Forty other recipients will receive Community Service Award grants from BU that fully fund their calculated financial need without loans, a commitment of more than $7.7 million over the next four years. That includes tuition, room and board, books, supplies, travel, and fees, all without loans. After their first semester, recipients must perform 25 hours of community service per semester and must maintain a 2.00 cumulative grade point average and successfully complete at least 12 credits each semester. Community Service Award recipients will also be assigned mentors to help them in a successful transition to the University.
“I’m so excited and happy for myself and my parents,” said Angelica Castillo (CAS’21), a Menino scholar. “This is the school that I have wanted to go to since I was a sophomore in high school, and the fact that this scholarship is making it possible for me to come to BU is amazing.”
Leila Dixon (SED’21), a Community Service scholar, expressed similar sentiments. “I am really proud,” said Dixon. “BU was my reach school and my top choice. When I got a scholarship along with my acceptance letter, it felt that much sweeter.”
Dixon’s mother, Deana Martin-Dixon, said the program provided a great foundation for Leila’s future. “The base of her future and her upcoming years at BU are starting tonight,” she said. “I’m grateful for that.”
Boston University’s commitment to meet, without loans, the full calculated financial eligibility of any admitted Boston public high school graduate is a strong and tangible component of the University’s ongoing engagement with the city. Since its origins in 1973, the Menino Scholarship Program has awarded more than $163 million in scholarships to 1,917 students. Originally known as the Boston High School Scholarship, the program was renamed for the former mayor in 2013.
The 25 Menino scholars hail from a dozen neighborhoods in the city, including five from Hyde Park, and 14 (56 percent) represent the first generation in their families to go to college. Six were born in other countries: China, Colombia, Haiti, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. They had an average SAT score of 1291 and an average GPA of 3.6.
Through the Community Service Award program, started in 2009, Boston University has committed close to $63 million to 428 students. The 40 new recipients come from 15 different Boston neighborhoods, including six from Dorchester and six from the South End. Some 27 of them (68 percent) are the first generation in their families to go to college, and 13 were born in other countries, including China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Russia, South Korea, and Vietnam. They had an average SAT score of 1299 and average GPA of 3.6.
Seventeen of the Menino scholars (68 percent) and 25 of the Community Service Award recipients (62 percent) are women.
Walsh described the scholarship recipients as “pioneers in education and in [their] own families.”
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he told the group. “Take it seriously, follow your dreams, be proud of what you do, be proud of who you are and where you come from. You represent your families and you represent this city. The great thing about Boston University is that you can stay right here in the City of Boston and get an incredible education.”
The selection committee members, who were recognized at the ceremony, were John McEachern, BU director of admissions; Francesco Tena, former manager of the Mayor’s Youth Council; and Catherine Chiu, director of guidance for the Boston Public Schools.
Michael Dennehy (CAS’92), director of college access and completion, invited each of the scholars onstage to have their picture taken with Brown and Walsh. Dennehy, who was himself a Menino scholar, will serve as one of the mentors for incoming Community Service scholars and expressed his enthusiasm for supporting the incoming cohort.
“It’s just a great program, and it’s so rewarding to be part of it, certainly as a staff member and a mentor, but also as an alum,” said Dennehy. “I think there is a real sense of community here and something unique about the identity of being a Boston student at Boston University.”
Beginning with the 2017 fall semester, BU has expanded the Community Service Award to include transfer students who are Boston public high school graduates. The class has not yet been finalized, but at the moment, approximately 20 transfer students will also receive their full calculated financial need. Two additional transfer students from Bunker Hill Community College and one from Roxbury Community College will receive similar support through BU scholarship programs with those institutions.
Liz Vanderau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.