In 1993, Matt Ellsworth, an aspiring graduate of Prescott High School, was named a Flinn Scholar—recipient of a full-ride scholarship to an Arizona public university, the first of three family members to achieve the feat.
Today, Ellsworth assumes leadership of the program that granted him the opportunity. The Flinn Foundation, which administers and sponsors the scholarship program, named Ellsworth—a five-year Flinn Foundation staff member—as the fourth director in the program’s 26-year history.
“Matt has come full circle,” said Jack B. Jewett, Flinn Foundation President & CEO. “The qualities that earned him a Flinn Scholarship nearly 20 years ago have blazed an impressive trail back to the Flinn Foundation and finally the Scholars Program. Matt’s exceptional range of talents, combined with his intimate familiarity with the program and the Scholars themselves, makes him a natural to lead the Flinn Scholars Program.”
Ellsworth begins immediately his new role as Assistant Vice President, Flinn Scholars Program, transitioning from his position as the Foundation’s Communications Manager and Senior Writer. Ellsworth joined the Foundation in 2007, and has worked closely with the Scholars Program as part of his ongoing communications duties. He succeeds Michael Cochise Young, who led the program from 2001 until earlier this year.
As a Flinn Scholar, Ellsworth graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a B.A. in English through the university’s Honors College. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from George Mason University and was the outstanding graduate in the fiction program.
In addition to his communications work at the Foundation, Ellsworth has written grants for a nonprofit child-welfare center in Oakland, directed a tutoring program for at-risk students in Berkeley, Calif., served as an English instructor and fiction editor at George Mason, taught English at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, and served on the residential staff of Andre House in downtown Phoenix.
The Flinn Scholars Program was established in 1986 to assist Arizona’s public universities to compete for the state’s top high school students. Approximately 20 outstanding Arizona high school seniors are awarded the scholarship every spring to attend Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or the University of Arizona.
The package, provided through a partnership with Arizona’s public universities, provides eight semesters of undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, study-travel opportunities abroad, faculty mentoring, and invitations to cultural events and activities to introduce Scholars to leaders in various fields. The award is valued at roughly $100,000.
The Flinn Foundation is a Phoenix-based, private, nonprofit philanthropic endowment established in 1965 by Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. In addition to the Flinn Scholars Program, the Foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, arts and culture in Arizona, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.