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Wells Scholars Program

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Santa Claus' Thake named Wells Scholar at IU

Aug. 10, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ian Krishna-Roger Thake from Santa Claus, Ind., has been selected as a Wells Scholar at Indiana University, one of 19 entering freshmen so honored. 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.

Thake is the first Wells Scholar from Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, where he graduated as valedictorian and received the Patriot Award for service, leadership and scholarship. He also earned distinction by helping his team win fourth in state in the math division of the Academic Super Bowl.

A three-time recipient of gold medals at the state level for his performances in a vocal ensemble, he sang in his school's jazz choir, which he served as an officer, and in his church choir. In addition, he was a member of his school's marching band, which twice placed in the top 10 at state competitions. He also played violin in Strings, Inc.

Throughout his high school career, Thake performed in productions of Heritage Hills' drama department in addition to several community theater productions. President of his school's chapter of National Honor Society, he also was a charter member and president of his school's chapter of Key Club. He served as class secretary for four years and was a member of Student Council, the Spell Bowl team, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the pep club, the Renaissance academic excellence club and Llama Club, a monthly meeting for llama lovers and cartoon cravers. He plans to study English.

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.