New grant to fund LGBT+ scholars

The endowed Authentic Leadership Scholarship to award around $2,100

by Nina Benich, staff writer
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The Authentic Leadership Scholarship award $2,100 each year to an LGBT+ student who shows leadership at
xavier. With donations from alumni, the endowed scholarship will replace the old Lavender scholarship.

Xavier recently introduced a new endowment scholarship, the Authentic Leadership Scholarship, to be awarded in the fall semester to incoming first-years and undergraduate LGBT+ students. 

The scholarship is the first of its kind on a Jesuit campus. The sum of the scholarship, given by two Xavier alumni donors, is generally $21,000, but is subject to fluctuate depending on the market value. 

The donors have previously given to Xavier for a similar LGBT+-related scholarship, the Lavender Scholarship, which is $500 granted by the donors every year. 

A qualifying student must be enrolled full-time for the upcoming fall semester, self-identify as LGBT+, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and be involved in some form of LGBT+ work in their community. 

Xavier is awarding its first Authentic Leadership Scholarship and the winner will be announced at the end of April, after which the funds will be allocated toward their bursar bill for the fall semester. 

Assistant Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion Maria Merrill spoke of the scholarship’s establishment. She collaborated with Kerry Murphy of Xavier Development and Dean of Admissions Lauren Parcell to work with the donors. 

“We have set up a review committee that includes staff, faculty and student representation who will be able to review the applications to award the winner,” she noted. 

She stated that the scholarship’s qualifications can be broad, depending on the experiences of each individual applicant. 

“I think that one of the really cool things about this is that there’s not just one way to get it,” she continued. 

“Outside of the scholarship requirements, we’re really looking for somebody who can articulate what their involvement in the community is, and how the scholarship is going to be able to help them continue that work,” Merrill said.

She hopes that the scholarship will encourage LGBT+ students to feel a sense of belonging in the Xavier community. 

“Xavier wants our queer and trans students here, to keep them and retain them,” Merrill said. “The scholarship will be here for as long as Xavier will be here.” 

Of her hopes for the scholarship’s impact, Merrill stated that, “We want to give that rooted sense of belonging to students here and students who are just looking around at schools, to say ‘it’s a Jesuit Catholic campus, and I belong there.’”

Merrill hopes for an expansion in the future, but emphasizes that the primary concern of the scholarship  committee is to build the reputation of the current scholarship on campus. 

Additionally, she noted that in spring of 2019, the Lavender scholarship greatly contributed to Xavier’s completion of the Campus Pride Index, an indicator of a particular university’s commitment to LGBT+ inclusivity. 

Students can apply for the Authentic Leadership Scholarship through a form on EngageXU. 

An application can also be found on the university website under Resources and Scholarships. 

The application is open until tommorow.