PHOENIX—Twenty-two of Arizona’s most talented high-school seniors have been awarded the 2012 Flinn Scholarship, a comprehensive educational package at an Arizona public university that includes tuition, room and board, international study-related travel, and additional benefits.
Each award, provided through a partnership between the Flinn Foundation and the universities, has a total value of more than $100,000.
More than 550 high-school seniors from throughout Arizona applied to be a member of the 27th annual class of Flinn Scholars. The Class of 2012 is only the second to have more than 20 students.
“The depth of academic credentials and service to school and community among the year’s finalists were truly outstanding,” said Jack B. Jewett, President and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “The Selection Committee recommended going beyond our traditional class of 20 to provide these exemplary students the opportunity to spend their undergraduate years at Arizona’s universities.”
The new class includes the first Flinn Scholars chosen from Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, Hamilton Preparatory Academy in Chandler, Millennium High School in Goodyear, and Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, as well as the first-ever homeschooled Flinn Scholar. The 22 Scholars represent 18 high schools in 13 cities and towns across Arizona: Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Oro Valley, Phoenix, Prescott, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson, and Yuma. Three schools had two Scholars chosen—Hamilton High in Chandler, Mountain Pointe High in Phoenix, and University High in Tucson.
As a group, the new Scholars averaged 1470 out of 1600 on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and 32 out of 36 on the American College Test (ACT). Fourteen students were at least semifinalists in the National Merit competition—a benchmark honor of the top high-school students nationally.
“These students have impeccable academic records, though that alone is not sufficient to become a Flinn Scholar,” said Matt Ellsworth, Flinn Scholars Program director and a 1993 Flinn Scholar. “Equally important is what the student has done outside the classroom—in school clubs, within the community, and through their own pursuits. We’re looking for well-rounded individuals who will make a mark on Arizona and the world.”
Becoming a Flinn Scholar involves an application and interview process that is substantially more competitive than the admission process for the most selective liberal-arts colleges and research universities. The newest Scholars participated in two interviews in addition to completing a thorough application. In March, 41 finalists were interviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of distinguished Arizona leaders.
The students will be formally introduced at a banquet on May 13 in Phoenix, where they and 23 Flinn Scholars graduating from Arizona’s universities will be honored before some 150 family members, university officials, and community leaders. Each new Flinn Scholar also will recognize an educator of their choice who has influenced their education in an important way.
Delivering the keynote address at the event will be Lisan Peng, a 1989 Flinn Scholar and 1993 Rhodes Scholar. Dr. Peng, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, studied at Oxford University and earned an M.D. and Ph.D. from the UCLA School of Medicine following her graduation from the University of Arizona.
The Flinn Scholars Program is among a handful of statewide or regional merit-based undergraduate scholarship programs run by private philanthropies. In addition to expenses covering eight semesters of study at an Arizona university, the scholarship package includes:
- a three-week intensive summer seminar abroad;
- 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;
- membership in an active and mutually supportive community of more than 500 Scholars and alumni.
Baseline requirements for applicants this year were:
- a minimum 3.5 grade-point average;
- a ranking in the top 5 percent of their graduating class;
- a minimum score of 1300 on the SAT test or 29 on the ACT;
- demonstrated leadership abilities.
To retain the scholarship, Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average and participate in campus or community activities.
The Flinn Scholars Program, begun in 1986, is operated by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and supported by the Flinn Foundation, a private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization based in Phoenix. The Foundation was established in 1965 by the late Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona. In addition to the Scholars Program, the Foundation supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, the arts, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.