Davis UWC Scholars Shine

Shelby M.C. Davis
Many of Colby’s Davis United World College (UWC) scholars would have had very limited options for post-secondary education if not for the Davis United World College Scholars Program. Thanks to Shelby M. C. and Gale Davis and their son Andrew Davis ‘85, the future is much brighter for those students, and Colby has been improved and diversified by the presence of more international students in classrooms and on campus.

Promising students from all over the world are invited to apply to very competitive UWCs. Any UWC graduate accepted to Colby, one of five pilot sites for the program, will become a Davis UWC Scholar and will receive a scholarship. At Colby the Davises have paid the full financial aid, sometimes called the calculated financial need, for 93 students. This year alone, Shelby and Gale Davis spent $15 million on college tuition and fees to send 312 students from all over the world to American colleges and universities.

“My parents won’t earn in their lifetime a year’s tuition in this school,” said Ana Prokic, a Serb from Belgrade and Davis UWC Scholar. “It changed my life and gave me a future and possibly a future for my little sister, because from now on I can take care of her and make a difference for her.” On living in America, she says, “I don’t have the luxury of crashing at my parents’ house, but I know I can be staying with friends. . . . That’s been helpful—having American friends who are so concerned about you and what’s going on in your country.”

On the role of international students as part of Colby’s diversity, Diego Puig from Argentina said, “They [American students] have come to realize, and we’ve come to realize, that in many ways we’re like them. We’re not that different. We can get along just fine. You have to respect someone else because, despite the difference, in many other ways you are like them.”

As President William Adams considers all the implications of increasing Colby’s international reach in recruiting students, he sees multiple benefits. Besides providing opportunities for talented and extremely well-prepared students from all around the world to study here, the benefits for American students are compelling too. “We believe that a contemporary college education ought to be both cross-cultural and transnational,” Adams said. “International students contribute to the intellectual life of the college in distinctive ways. We need them for the important contributions they make to the educational process itself. We need them, in short, to help educate us.”

Focused on the long term, Shelby Davis expects nothing less than to improve international relations and, perhaps, change the course of history. “Colby is a first-rate school. Increasing diversity on campus via UWC students should increase Colby students’ awareness of the world around them and foster international bonds of understanding, which are critical in the twenty-first century,” said Shelby. “UWC students are bright and capable. Funding scholarships for them is a way of making a difference for the future. They come from many countries, and their diverse international outlook will benefit all Colby students.”

Read more about the Davis UWC Scholars Program in Colby magazine:
An Investment, Not a Giveaway” (Summer 2005)
“Global Reflections” (Fall 2004)
“A Global Forum” (Fall 2002)

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