When Saint Leo University president Dr. William J. Lennox Jr. took over the reins of the school earlier this year, he was asked what kind of celebration he wanted as part of his inauguration. With several options from which to choose, including galas, private dinners or weeklong affairs, the president chose an unanticipated option. He chose not to celebrate at all.
“When I had the conversation with him about his inauguration celebration, he had a lot of questions,” says Denny Moller, VP for university advancement at Saint Leo University
. “One of his biggest concerns was the cost of the celebration. He finally just said he would rather see that money go back to the students.”
Instead of a presidential inauguration, university leaders decided to award $2,500 scholarships to 20 deserving students. The scholarships will be divided among students at the university campus, those who take courses online exclusively and graduate students.
“These are one-time scholarships funded by a donor to the university,” Moller says. “We are expecting to get hundreds of submissions.”
Moller says that students have to submit applications by October 30th
to be eligible, and will receive funding for the spring semester. He also says funds will be given to those who are expected to graduate next year.
“These scholarships are to help those who are close to graduating,” he says. “We will only be looking at applicants who are scheduled to graduate in the spring.”
The application process includes submitting an application online and writing an essay that illustrates the student’s financial need.
“It is our hope that the president’s gesture sends a positive message, not only to our students, but to the rest of the education community and leadership, that it should always be about the students.”