Flinn Foundation selects top Arizona students for 35th class of Flinn Scholars

April 22, 2020

By Matt Ellsworth

For the 35th straight year, a cohort of Arizona’s highest-achieving high-school seniors has chosen to forego attending out-of-state universities and accept the prestigious Flinn Scholarship.

The merit-based award, supported by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation in partnership with Arizona’s three state universities, covers the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees, housing, meals, and a myriad of exclusive opportunities—a package valued at more than $120,000.

The Flinn Scholars Class of 2020 will attend Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona this fall.

“Each year, this rigorous and competitive application process offers us a glimpse into the potential and impact of Arizona students. I continue to be amazed at their academic accomplishment and dedication to extracurricular activities that serve the community,” Flinn Foundation President and CEO Tammy McLeod said. “We are proud of the role the Flinn Scholars Program has played over its 35 years in Arizona’s educational ecosystem and the benefits it continues to offer not only the students who become Flinn Scholars, but the entire state.”  

The Class of 2020

Highlights from the Class of 2020 include:

  • The class is nearly evenly split between Flinn Scholars from the Phoenix metropolitan area and from outside the region. There are four Scholars from Tucson, two from Flagstaff, and one each from Camp Verde, Fort Mohave, and Lake Havasu City;
  • Two high schools are celebrating their first Flinn Scholar: Tanque Verde High School in Tucson and Washington High School in Phoenix;
  • For five high schools, 2020 marks their second Flinn Scholar: Lake Havasu High School, Northland Preparatory Academy in Flagstaff, Desert View High School in Tucson, Mohave High School in Fort Mohave, and Gilbert Classical Academy;
  • Red Mountain High School in Mesa is the only school with two Flinn Scholars; and
  • The Scholars represent public district schools, public charter schools, and one private school.

The 19 Flinn Scholars have selected a wide range of fields for their studies, including entrepreneurship, biology, astrophysics, philosophy, pre-veterinary medicine, public policy, chemical engineering, linguistics, pre-neuroscience, and physiology.

A record 1,014 Arizona high-school seniors applied for the Flinn Scholarship, producing a less than 2 percent award rate.

“There is so much to admire in each of these Flinn Scholars,” said Anne Lassen, Flinn Scholars Program director. “They are all extremely bright and excel in the classroom. But what makes them stand out is how they engage with the world, their dedication to their schools and communities, and their motivation to have a positive impact on the future of Arizona and beyond.”

Flinn Scholarship Benefits

In addition to enabling recipients to graduate without debt, the scholarship offers:

  • An extraordinary community of more than 650 current and alumni Flinn Scholars, including about 80 Scholars studying at the three universities at any given time;
  • Membership in a university honors college, with amenities including small classes, access to top researchers, and guest lectures:
  • Personal mentoring from top faculty, and exposure to Arizona and global leaders in business, government, science, and the arts;
  • Intellectual, cultural and social activities developed exclusively for Flinn Scholars by both the Flinn Foundation and the universities; and
  • Funding for a three-week summer seminar after the Scholar’s freshman year and for at least one additional study-abroad experience.

The Flinn Scholars Program, established in 1986, is operated by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and supported by the Flinn Foundation, a Phoenix-based private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization. The Foundation, founded in 1965 by the late Dr. Robert and Irene Flinn, also supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and its flagship Flinn-Brown Fellowship.

Meet the 2020 Flinn Scholars