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Union's best and brightest encouraged to seek new challenges



For a few Friday afternoons this term, Everest Lounge was teeming with some of the best and brightest students on campus.

Hosted by Lynn Evans, director of National Fellowships and Scholarships, these “Academic Achievement Receptions” featured the top 15 percent of first-years, sophomores and juniors. A separate event is planned for seniors.

The idea behind the new program is to encourage outstanding students to think about new challenges and to take full advantage of what Union has to offer.

Students were chosen based on their GPA, among other criteria.

To maximize the value of a liberal arts education with depth and breadth, students are encouraged to “acquire a foreign language, study abroad, conduct summer research, develop solid mentoring relationships with faculty members and grow leadership skills,” the invitation states.

This could lead to prestigious fellowship and scholarship opportunities. Union students compete annually for Watson Fellowships, Davis Project for Peace Scholarships, Truman Scholarships and Fulbright Teaching Assistantships, among others.

Mark Wunderlich, dean of studies, hopes to hold one reception a year for each class.

“Many Union students who do extraordinarily well aren’t on the lookout for scholarship and fellowship opportunities,” said Wunderlich. “We want to recognize their accomplishments and give them encouragement; we want them to meet our faculty, and help them consider ways to expand their exploration of the academic program.”