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Wells Scholars Program

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Robert Koffie named Wells Scholar at IU

Aug. 10, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Robert Koffie of Holton, Ind., has been selected as a Wells Scholar at Indiana University as a senior. He will this fall join more than 320 others who have been named Wells Scholars since 1990.

The scholarship, named in honor of the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells, ranks among the most competitive and prestigious awards offered by any American university. Since its inception, more than two dozen Wells Scholars have gone on to earn prestigious Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Soros, Mitchell, Churchill, Fulbright and Goldwater scholarships for advanced study.

Koffie, a junior at Indiana University, is completing majors in physics and biochemistry, minors in mathematics and African languages and certification in the Liberal Arts and Management Program. Recently honored with the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for his work in science, he has won numerous other awards, including a National Institutes of Health Research Scholarship and IU named scholarships in physics and chemistry and for summer research.

Koffie is a member of the Hutton Honors College, the Hudson and Holland Scholars Programs, the McNair Scholars Program and Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society. A research assistant in physics and chemistry labs, he has presented research findings at state and national conferences, including the National Ronald E. McNair Scholars Research Conference. He has served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Physics and as an event coordinator for state and national Science Olympiads. He is co-founder and president of the IU Chapter of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

A representative for the Indiana University Family Students Council and community service chair for the IU Black Students Union, he has volunteered with the American Red Cross, Bell Trace Health and Living Center and Bloomington Hospital. Koffie graduated from Accra Academy in Ghana.

Many previous Wells Scholars today contribute to Indiana as residents who are attorneys, doctors, school teachers and business people, and even an ordained minister. Others have gone on to clerk for Indiana and U.S. Supreme Court justices, are engaged in international relief and service efforts and are scholars at other renowned educational institutions such as Harvard Business School and Cornell Law School. There are Wells Scholars currently serving in the Armed Forces and other positions in government.

To honor Wells, IU created the Wells Scholars Program, which began with fund-raising efforts in 1988 and the appointment of Professor Breon Mitchell as its founding director. In 1990, IU welcomed its first class of Wells Scholars and on June 7, 1992, Wells' 90th birthday, he was officially presented with the Wells Scholars Program, as a gift from his many friends and admirers. After his death in the spring of 2000, this community of talented and dedicated young scholars remains as a permanent legacy of his educational vision.

Wells Scholars receive full tuition and course-related fees, as well as a living stipend for undergraduate study on the Bloomington campus of IU. The Wells program emphasizes close interaction with faculty, academic and career advising, opportunities for community service, and contact with distinguished visitors.

Wells Scholars are selected for having demonstrated exceptional qualities of character and leadership and distinction both inside and outside of the classroom.