|Date: April 3, 2000
Contact: Stephen Collins, Colby College, 207-872-3549
Elizabeth Morse, United World Colleges, 505-454-4227
Phone: (207) 872-3236
Multi-year, Multi-million-dollar Commitment Will Fund Davis UWC Scholarships, Promote Global Understanding
A major new scholarship program announced this springthe Davis United World College Scholars programwill pay tuition and other expenses for scores of qualified students from all over the world who gain admission to five prestigious U.S. colleges. The Shelby M.C. Davis family has pledged to pay, beginning this fall, 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need, including relief from loans and campus or summer jobs, for all graduates of the United World College (UWC) movement who matriculates at College of the Atlantic, Colby, Middlebury and Wellesley colleges and Princeton University.
The United World Colleges are ten pre-university-level schools located on five continents and dedicated to promoting international understanding through education. Some 2,000 students from 16 to 19 years old from all corners of the globe live and study together at the schools in challenging academic programs that foster peace and cooperation. Now they are all eligible for Davis UWC scholarships to continue their education at the undergraduate institutions named.
The Davis gift is unusual in several respects:
"I believe that recognizing and building on international diversity through education at an influential age is central to the possibilities for global harmony in this new millennium," said Shelby M.C. Davis in announcing the scholarships to presidents of the five American institutions.
The scholarships will provide resources for significant numbers of the brightest and best-prepared foreign students to attend some of America's top undergraduate institutions. As a result, America's future leaders will gain a more international perspective from living and studying side by side with individuals from different countries and different cultures, Davis said.
This year there are 31 UWC graduates enrolled at the five American schools where the scholarships will be offered. The new scholarship program promises to increase that number significantlythis spring, just between Colby and Middlebury the number of applications from UWC graduates increased to more than 120.
At Colby, sophomore Zahra Khilji of Pakistan, a graduate of Altantic UWC in Wales, praised the initiative. "Something like this will be so nice because there are so many qualified UWC graduates who get left out for lack of money," she said. "They can add flavor to the Colby community, and Colby will benefit from the global views they bring."
The UWC movement was founded in 1962 to create a school where youth of the world could unite to gain knowledge and understanding of various races and cultures. Queen Noor of Jordan is the current president of the UWCs, and Nelson Mandela is president of the International Council of UWCs.
"Expanding opportunities to bring qualified international students to Colby has been a priority here for years," said William R. Cotter, president of Colby College. "This is a generous and ingenious strategy to help us reach that objective. This program surely will transform the lives of the Davis UWC scholars, and the valuable diversity they bring to our community will enrich the world view of all Colby students."Middlebury's president, John McCardell, said, "The establishment of the Davis UWC Scholars Program is the most important support for international student financial aid that Middlebury College has ever received. Every student at Middlebury College benefits from the presence of international students on campus and in the classrooms."
Diana Chapman Walsh, president of Wellesley College, said, "Through the Davises' extraordinary generosity, Wellesley will for the first time be able to admit all qualified United World College applicants from anywhere in the world, regardless of their financial means. The current Wellesley students who are UWC graduates bring a truly global perspective to our diverse campus. We all are very excited at the prospect of being able to expand Wellesley's international reach even further."
Steven K. Katona, president of College of the Atlantic, said, "The Davis family has a long-standing commitment to international service and study. This new initiative continues that tradition in a unique way. The missions of the United World Colleges and College of the Atlantic have much in common. We are deeply impressed with the UWC graduates already studying here and grateful that we will have the chance to host others in the future."
Princeton University's president ,Harold T. Shapiro, said, "For almost 50 years, Princeton has followed a policy of admitting American and Canadian students without regard for their financial circumstances, and then meeting the full demonstrated need of each admitted student who requires financial assistance. One of our highest priorities has been to move toward the same policy for international students. Meeting the needs of these students is a special challenge because they do not qualify for American government grant, loan and work programs. This extraordinary commitment by the Davis family complements a major new and broad commitment by the university in the area of financial aid and strongly supports our determination to be a university not only in the Nation's Service' but in the Service of All Nations.'"
Located in Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Norway, Singapore, Swaziland, Venezuela and Wales as well as in the United States, the UWCs offer a unique program of academic and experiential education for students from more than 100 countries. Students end their two years of study by taking the International Baccalaureate exams, which can earn credits transferable to universities and colleges worldwide.
The UWC mission of promoting international cooperation and harmony was compelling to the Davis family because it matched the international tradition of the family and its business, said Andrew Davis, president of Davis Selected Advisers L.C. In 1998, the Davises established a full merit scholarship endowment to support 100 American teenagers to attend United World Colleges around the worlda program conceived as a privately funded, junior version of the famous Fulbright Scholarships. The new Davis UWC Scholarships are a logical next step that will augment important international initiatives already under way at all five institutions of higher education. Davis said, "That's critical. If a college isn't thinking internationally today, it's going to be out of businessthe same as in the business world."