2019 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar for Shelby County

The Blue River Community Foundation (BRCF) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for Shelby County.  This prestigious award grants full tuition to any accredited public or private college or university in Indiana.  In addition, it provides an annual stipend of $900 for required books and equipment. 

Shelby County’s 2019 recipient is Stewart D. Douglas.  Stewart is the son of John and Monica Douglas of Flat Rock.   He will graduate in May from Waldron Jr. Sr. High School and plans to attend Purdue University to pursue a degree in agricultural economics. 

At the time of application, Stewart was ranked first in his graduating class and his GPA was 4.48 on a 4.0 scale.  He is involved in several extracurricular activities including; National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America (FFA), student council, 4-H, and cross country.  Over the course of high school, he has received numerous academic accolades, as well as awards for essay and speech competitions.  Stewart also demonstrates his ability to lead by serving as President of the Noble Happy Harvesters 4-H Club, the Shelby County 4-H Junior Leaders Health and Safety Officer, and the 2018 Hoosier Boys State Party Parliamentarian.   Although Stewart is an extremely busy young man, he still finds time to serve his community.  He has devoted several hours to his church, Shelby County 4-H, and Waldron Elementary School. 

The Foundation’s competitive selection process for this scholarship begins with an online application.  Students must provide a written essay, two letters of recommendation, and a scholastic profile completed by their school counselor.  Meaningful community involvement, extracurricular activities, academic history and commitment, character, and the student’s potential for success are also considered by the BRCF scholarship committee during the application evaluation process.  According to Julie Alvis, Youth and Education Program Officer for the Blue River Community Foundation, the committee evaluated a total of 52 fully completed, qualifying applications for the 2019 scholarship.  “Once again, the group of eligible students for this esteemed scholarship was impressive.  In fact, several of our committee members commented on the outstanding quality of applications during their review process.  Since Shelby County is only afforded one Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship each year, our committee spent a considerable amount of time deliberating over their recommendation. It’s difficult to select just one student when there are so many exceptional candidates.”

After thorough review of each application, which the Foundation’s scholarship committee does in the blind (applicant’s names are removed from viewing during this phase of the selection process), six finalists were selected for a personal interview.  Selection criteria considered during the interview include determination, decision making skills, knowledge of what is required to succeed in college and the ability to apply that knowledge, goal orientation and evidence of life planning, and intellectual curiosity in the student’s chosen field.

In addition to Stewart, Jenna Kuntz (Southwestern High School), Blake McClure (Southwestern High School), Addison Mummert (Shelbyville High School), Jonathan Riggins (Triton Central High School), and Hannah Sullivan (Waldron High School) were also interviewed for the scholarship.   Due to their exceptional resume of academic and personal achievements, these five students will receive a four-year renewable scholarship from one of the 84 scholarship funds administered by BRCF. 

Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) oversees the administration of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program statewide and provides final review and selection of the recipients.  ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 30 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. 

Since the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program was first offered in 1998, one of the primary goals of the initiative has been to raise the level of education attainment in Indiana.  Although Indiana still ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree, the program awards 143 scholarships to deserving Indiana students each year.