Nine University of Mississippi students were among some 500 Stamps Leadership Scholars from 41 universities who convened at the Georgia Institute of Technology for the third Stamps Scholars National Convention.
UM students attending the conference were Madeleine Achgill of Indianapolis; Ben Branson, Madison; Kathryn James, Mandeville, Louisiana; Paige Lagarde, Winchester, Virginia; David Newman, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Kate Pendergast, Luling, Louisiana; Dylan Ritter, Somerset, New Jersey; Sarah Stroup, Cape Girardeau, Missouri; and Eloise Tyner, Oxford.
The scholars gathered April 10-12 in Atlanta to discuss challenges in various academic fields as they visited CNN, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Carter Center, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Scholars with similar academic interests worked together in professionally focused threads, saw work that other students are doing at a Stamps Scholars exposition and enjoyed speeches given by selected scholars.
“This convention is an incredible opportunity for our Stamps Scholars to come together with scholars from across the nation to network, share ideas and talk about the challenges we face today,” said Noel Wilkin, UM provost, who accompanied the students to the convention. “We are proud to be one of the few institutions nationwide to offer this prestigious scholarship to five incoming students.”
The convention featured speeches from scholarship founders Roe and Penny Stamps, Harvard Business School professor Bill George, public speaker and educator Bill Curry and CNN journalist Tom Foreman, who is the father of a Stamps Scholar alumna.
Georgia native Roe Stamps IV and his wife, Penny, started the Stamps Scholars Program in 2006 to support students in their academic pursuits and have since forged a national network of scholars. The couple launched the program at their alma maters, Georgia Tech and the University of Michigan. Since then, the scholarship has grown to more than 700 current and graduated scholars and is one of the nation’s largest merit-based scholarship programs.
Four Stamps Scholars have won Rhodes Scholarships, three have received Fulbright Fellowships and two have been named as Barry Goldwater Scholars.
The Stamps Foundation agreed to partner with UM in late 2012, and the university awarded its first six Stamps Scholarships for the 2013 fall semester.
The scholarships are generous multi-year packages and often include enrichment funding, which allows students to study abroad or explore research opportunities. For the 2014-15 school year, the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation and its partners will provide approximately $20.9 million in scholarship support to 589 Stamps Scholars. About 223 new Stamps Scholars will enroll this fall.
According to Roe Stamps, the goal of the convention reflects the changing nature of the Stamps Scholars: from a small program helping a few students to a growing group of diverse young people who can work together to find solutions to the major issues facing the world.
For more information on the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation and its scholarship program, go to stampsfoundation.org.