By Nathan Allen
Columbia, Mo. (Sept. 27, 2010) — The Missouri School of Journalism recently welcomed a record-setting 63 Walter Williams Scholars at a ceremony held in Fisher Auditorium on the MU campus.
This year’s group represents the highest-achieving incoming journalism students in a class of 972 declared journalism or pre-journalism majors. To be considered for the program, applicants must earn an ACT score of at least a 33 (1440 on the SAT). The program is named for Walter Williams, the School’s founding dean, and every Walter Williams Scholar is assigned an individual faculty mentor.
The 2010 Walter Williams Scholars are from 18 states; almost half are either from Missouri (17) or Illinois (14).
“Missouri gets the students who are really committed to journalism, advertising and public relations,” said Brian S. Brooks, associate dean for undergraduate studies. “These students are among the best incoming students in the country and rank in the top half of the top one percent of high school graduates nationwide.”
This year’s scholars hold an array of impressive academic achievements. These include:
- Grace Lyden of Omaha scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.
- A total of 13 are National Merit Commended Scholars.
- One is a National Merit Semifinalist.
- Five are National Merit Finalists.
- Five are National Merit Scholars.
A few of the scholars received state press association awards for their high school journalism endeavors. The Scholastic Press Association of Chicago honored Caitlin Swieca with its Journalist of the Year award. The Journalism Education Association named Jimmy Hibsch of Arlington Heights, Ill., the Illinois High School Journalist of the Year. Tyler Castner of Liberty Township, Ohio, received an honorable mention for JEA’s Ohio High School Journalist of the Year. The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association chose Devon Fasbinder of Clarkston, Mich., as the Best Anchor.
This year’s scholars boast many other talents and accomplishments. Castner was the winner of the 2009 Yale Book Award. Natalie Cheng of Lisle, Ill., won this year’s Christian Science Monitor‘s Young Poets Award. Bryson Bruce of Lee’s Summit, Mo., was the lead in three out of four musicals at his school. Max Conger of Kansas City is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu (Japanese grappling art). Ben Scroggins of Allen, Texas, was the 2007 USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Champion. Cody Cutter of Overland Park, Kan., was the 2009 Kansas State Mock Trial champion. A total of 24 Walter Williams Scholars earned varsity letters in various sports.
Approximately 250 Walter Williams Scholars currently are enrolled at the School. The students enjoy numerous benefits, including placement in a special Freshman Interest Group, a personal faculty mentor and a $1,000 scholarship that can be used to study abroad or in the School’s New York or Washington programs at any time before graduation. For more information about the Walter Williams Scholars program, contact Brian Brooks at (573) 882-0847 or visit the website at https://journalism.missouri.edu/undergraduate/scholars.html.