With the Class of 2017 only recently making its departure from West Virginia University, a new freshman class began forming Tuesday (May 16) with the announcement of the next group of five WVU Foundation Scholars, the highest academic scholarship the University awards.
The group included the first recipient from tiny Wirt High School, as well as two from Wheeling Park High School; others were from Morgantown High School and Hedgesville High School.
“You are joining a learning community that will challenge and excite you,” President Gordon Gee said in introducing them at a luncheon at Blaney House. “WVU is a land-grant institution established to make a difference in people’s lives. It is also a liberal arts university to discover a cure for cancer and write the great American novel.”
Twenty high school seniors—all Bucklew Scholars— competed last month for the prestigious scholarships for West Virginia students. Foundation Scholars receive in excess of $87,000 to cover college costs for four years of undergraduate studies, including tuition and fees, room and board and a book stipend. They will also each receive a $4,500 stipend to be used to broaden their horizons through study abroad or academic enhancement opportunities such as internships.
Adam Craig, Miriam Demasi, Breellen Fleming, Zachary Gilpin and Jessica Hogbin "represent our brightest hopes,” Gee said. “At West Virginia University, we will give them the tools to build successful careers and make world-changing breakthroughs,”
WVU Foundation president Cindi Roth said the scholarship was established to provide support to West Virginians, noting that only 155 of West Virginia’s top students had earned the scholarship since its inception in 1987.
“The company you keep is quite impressive,” she said.
All five students have already earned excellent credentials in academics, leadership and community service, Roth said, and their work would continue as they explored the University as Mountaineers.
Adam Craig, of Wheeling, has worked toward his college goals throughout high school, holding three jobs during his high school career. Craig “wants to see the world,” and will likely use his stipend for travel in Central America. The son of Bob and Robin Craig, he was a member of the Wheeling Park High School debate team. He plans to major in international studies and work on economic development in foreign countries.
Miriam Demasi, of Wheeling, is keenly aware of environmental issues and has developed a building material made from waste paper, fly ash and lime. The daughter of Regina and Larry Demasi Jr., she was a member of the Wheeling Park High School debate team. Demasi wants to study abroad with Not Impossible Labs, a non-profit engineering organization that uses technology to advance society. She plans to major in biomedical engineering and pursue research in organ and limb development.
Breellen Fleming, of Elizabeth, is already a business owner, creating art in traditional media by commission and graphic arts design. She wants to expand her artistic perspective by traveling to Chile through the College of Creative Arts Global Positioning Studies program. The daughter of Larry and Lesa Fleming, she is the first Wirt County High School student to be named a Foundation Scholar. She plans to major in graphic design and marketing, then stay in West Virginia to help create an entrepreneurial foundation.
Zachary Gilpin, of Morgantown, proved his leadership skills through student government at Morgantown High School where he helped organize Mohigan Idol, an annual talent show that raises money for WVU Children’s Hospital. He plans to major in history and to use his stipend to study in a Latin American country where he will focus on relationships between religion, political organizing, economic policy and migratory patterns. His parents are Ronda Mae and Thomas Gilpin.
Jessica Hogbin, of Hedgesville, plans to major in history and have a career in academe, teaching at the university level. To underpin her degree with experience, she hopes to spend a semester in Italy to study medieval and Renaissance history and architecture. The Hedgesville High School student was class chaplain, keeping track of major events and offering an ear to her fellow students who had emotional needs. She is the daughter of Clint and Christina Hogbin.
Students must meet a rigorous set of criteria to qualify for the Foundation Scholarship, including holding West Virginia residency, possessing a minimum GPA of 3.8 and achieving a minimum composite score of 30 on the ACT or 1,340 on the SAT college entrance exams.
CONTACT: University Relations
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