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University Relations

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May 9, 2006
Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

KU to salute top scholars of the Class of 2006 at commencement May 21

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LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will recognize 130 students as the Class of 2006’s top scholars at commencement Sunday, May 21.

Each year, KU awards its most prized renewable four-year scholarships to students whose academic record and other qualifications make them eligible for selection. These students are Chancellors Club scholars, Elizabeth M. Watkins-Berger scholars, Solon E. Summerfield scholars, Endowment Merit scholars, National Merit scholars, National Hispanic scholars and National Achievement scholars. KU Endowment manages the funds for these scholarships.

In addition, eight McNair scholars are among the graduating seniors being recognized. The McNair scholars program is funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant that serves undergraduates who come from low-income families, are first-generation college students or are from groups underrepresented in higher education. The program prepares them to be successful in graduate school.

The Chancellors Club, the major-donor organization at KU Endowment, annually awards 10 renewable scholarships worth $1,500 to $2,000 to recognize National Merit finalists, five from Kansas and five from out of state, who have outstanding high school records.

Elizabeth M. Watkins-Berger and Solon E. Summerfield scholarships provide $2,500 a year for four years to 100 Kansas high school graduates in recognition of their outstanding high school academic achievements and record of community service and leadership. Summerfield scholarships for men are funded through an endowment established by Solon E. Summerfield, who was a Lawrence native and KU graduate. Watkins-Berger scholarships for women are financed by the estate of Elizabeth M. Watkins of Lawrence and an endowment in memory of Emily Berger, a KU graduate, by her brother, the late Arthur Berger of Dallas.

Endowment Merit scholarships provide $500 to $2,500 a year for four years to high-achieving students who enhance the diversity of the student body.

The National Merit scholarship is regarded as the most prestigious national award bestowed upon high school seniors. Fewer than 9,000 students of the 1.3 million who compete for the award, or fewer than 1 percent, receive National Merit scholarships. Recipients are chosen based on their academic abilities and extracurricular activities.

The National Hispanic scholars and National Achievement scholars programs are the nation’s most prestigious competitive scholarships for minority students. National Achievement scholarships are provided through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. in Evanston, Ill. National Hispanic scholarships are coordinated by the National Hispanic Recognition Program, through the College Board offices in New York City.

KU’s National Merit, National Hispanic and National Achievement scholars in this graduating class received a scholarship for tuition (15 credit hours each semester), campus fees and a housing stipend, renewable for four years.

Named for Ronald E. McNair, a physicist and astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion, the McNair scholars program provides funds and faculty mentors for qualifying students to complete research projects during the summer as preparation for their graduate studies. Students typically enter the program as juniors.

The Class of 2006 includes graduates from the summer and fall 2005 terms. The commencement procession begins at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

The graduating scholars are listed below by home county or state with their parents’ names (when available), majors and high school alma maters.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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