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Last modified: Tuesday, August 8, 2006

St. Louis' McKinney named Wells Scholar at IU

Aug. 10, 2006

Eliza McKinney image

Elizabeth McKinney

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Elizabeth McKinney from St. Louis has been selected as a Wells Scholar at Indiana University, one of 19 entering freshmen so honored. She 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.

A National Achievement Scholar and National Merit Finalist, McKinney graduated from John Burroughs High School, where she placed fifth in St. Louis on the National Spanish Exam and earned honorable mention in Saint Louis on the National Chemistry Exam. She wrote for her school's literary magazine, serving as editor in chief her senior year.

A long-time member of the St. Louis Children's Choirs, she performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Choral Music Experience Festival in Wales, the National American Choral Directors Association in Los Angeles and in the Czech Republic and Austria. In addition, she served as president of her school's a cappella club, played flute in the jazz band and has studied classical and jazz piano, as well as jazz, ballet and modern dance.

A member of John Burroughs' theatre group, McKinney performed in and helped produce multiple school musicals. She played for her school's varsity field hockey team, which she captained her senior year; and she competed with its varsity swim team, which she captained her junior and senior years. She plans to pursue studies in biochemistry or theatre design.

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 four years of undergraduate study on the Bloomington campus of IU. The program also offers special seminars, an optional year of study abroad, and support for a summer research project or internship. 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.