Twenty of Arizona’s premier high school seniors, heavily recruited by colleges and universities nationwide, have chosen to study in Arizona as Flinn Scholars. Each will attend an Arizona public university in the fall on a scholarship that provides four years of study, academic-focused travel abroad, faculty mentorship, and other benefits. The package is valued at more than $50,000.
The students were honored in the company of 160 family members, high school teachers, and college officials at the Flinn Scholars awards banquet at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix this past weekend. There, each new Flinn Scholar presented a plaque to an educator who had significantly influenced their education.
The 21st annual class includes students from 16 high schools in eight Arizona communities: Chandler, Glendale, Kingman, Mesa, Payson, Peoria, Phoenix, and Tucson. University High School in Tucson had four Scholars. Dobson High School in Mesa had two Scholars. Three schools are celebrating their first-ever Flinn Scholar: Hamilton High School in Chandler, Jess Schwartz Jewish Community High School in Phoenix, and Kingman North High School in Kingman.
“For the past 21 years, it’s been an honor for the Foundation to recognize the achievements of these nationally competitive students, and it’s a testament to our public universities’ strength and reputation,” said John W. Murphy, Flinn Foundation president and CEO. “The academic credentials of our 21st class are impeccable — they could have chosen to attend virtually any college or university in the nation, many with attractive scholarship offers. These recipients are equally impressive outside the classroom, excelling in leadership roles within the school and community, and in artistic and athletic endeavors.”
As a group, the class averaged scores of 1450 of a possible 1600 on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and 33 of a possible 36 on the American College Test (ACT). Seven students are National Merit Scholars, and two are National Achievement Scholars — both benchmark honors for the top echelon of students nationally.
The Flinn Scholars were chosen from an applicant pool of about 400 of Arizona’s highest-achieving students. In addition to outstanding academic performance, selection criteria included achievement and demonstrated leadership in extracurricular activities and community or school service efforts. Applicants submitted three essays and had two personal interviews.
The Flinn Scholars program is among a handful of statewide or regional merit-based undergraduate scholarship programs run by private philanthropies. In addition to eight semesters of study at an Arizona university, the scholarship award includes a three-week intensive seminar in Eastern Europe; at least one additional study/travel experience abroad or in the United States; mentorship by a university faculty member in the Scholar’s field of study; invitations to cultural events and activities designed to introduce the Scholars to leaders in various fields; and opportunities to participate with university faculty in research programs and professional meetings.
Applicants were required to have a minimum 3.5 grade-point average, a ranking in the top 5 percent of their graduating class, a minimum score of 1280 on the SAT test or 29 on the ACT, and demonstrated leadership abilities in school and community activities. To retain the scholarship, the students must maintain a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average and participate in campus or community activities.
Since the commencement of the Flinn Scholars Program in 1986, including the 21st class, over $10.7 million has been award to 414 Arizona students. The program is operated by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and supported by the Flinn Foundation, a private, nonprofit, philanthropic trust based in Phoenix. The Foundation was established in 1965 by the late Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the broad mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona. In addition to the Scholars program, the Foundation supports programs in biosciences and the arts in Arizona.