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Begley Scholars Day 2012
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Record 162 High School Seniors Compete for Three Begley Scholarships

Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 [11:02 PM]

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- The next generation of Lindsey Wilson College student leaders were on the A.P. White Campus on Saturday to compete for one of the more prestigious scholarships in Kentucky higher education.

A record 162 high school seniors from 49 Kentucky counties and 11 U.S. states spent part of their day on campus to compete for one of three John B. Begley Scholarships that will be awarded to incoming freshmen.

Named in honor of LWC Chancellor John B. Begley, who was the college's seventh president from 1987-97, the scholarship covers a student's tuition, room and board. Its four-year value is about $145,000.

"This is an important day for you … but it's also an important day for Lindsey Wilson as we choose the next generation of students," LWC President William T. Luckey Jr. told the students and their guests in Roberta D. Cranmer Dining & Conference Center.

Luckey recalled that only 27 high school seniors competed for the scholarship eight years ago, a sign of how much the college's reputation has grown in less than a decade.

"The competition becomes more fierce each year, and our challenge in choosing a Begley Scholar becomes more difficult," Luckey said.

The students who were invited to interview for the Begley Scholarship had to record a minimum ACT composite score of 24, be ranked in the top 10 percent of their class, have submitted an essay and received three letters of reference.

Students are awarded the scholarship based on a variety of factors, but Luckey told them that "we're looking for students who can have an impact" at the college and beyond.

"I don't know another program like the Begley Scholarship," he said. "A lot of places offer full rides, but what makes this scholarship so distinctive are the experiences. … It truly is an amazing group of talented and incredibly bright young people who are trailblazers for our college and future trustees."

Current Begley Scholar Amanda Cecil of Hodgenville, Ky., said the program helped her prepare for law school. She said she's already been accepted into several of the nation's top law schools, which she credits to her LWC experience.

"Lindsey Wilson has provided me with innumerable opportunities to use my potential," said Cecil, who will graduate in May. "I have been accepted to … some of the nation's best and most competitive law schools because I proved my potential. And I know I proved my potential because I came to a school that afforded me the opportunities to do that."

LWC alumnus Britt Jackson of Columbia recalled being in the students' same place seven years ago. Jackson, who graduated from LWC in 2007 and is now a pharmacist, told the students "this whole process is going to benefit you immensely in the future" because it will help them when applying to graduate and professional schools.

If past Begley Scholars Days are any guide, Luckey said about 70 percent of the students will wind up at the college.

"And I can see why, because I don't believe that there is a more dynamic, more vibrant, more happening college or university in Kentucky or perhaps even in the South," he said. "In fact, the transformation of this college has been dramatic. … Our foot has been squarely attached to the accelerator."

In the last two years, LWC has hired 18 additional full-time faculty; opened a classroom building and a sports park, which is home to an outdoor spots stadium, baseball park and softball field; and built two residence halls.

"What we've just done in the last two years is more than what most places will do in a quarter of a century," Luckey said.

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