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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2003

LaPorte's Mazur selected as Wells Scholar at Indiana University

EDITORS: Publication-quality photos of all of the Wells Scholars are available online at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Lawrence J. "Joe" Mazur of LaPorte, Ind., an incoming freshman at Indiana University Bloomington, is one of 21 young people who have been selected as Wells Scholars for the upcoming academic year. 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.

Wells Scholars who are incoming freshmen receive full tuition and fees, as well as a living stipend for four years of study on the IUB campus.

The scholarship is named in honor of Wells (1902-2000), who devoted his extraordinary life to IU. Wells came to IU as an undergraduate, returned as a faculty member and then served as a dean before becoming president of the university for a quarter century. He remained the university's chancellor until his death.

A National Merit Scholar and a Hoosier Scholar, Mazur graduated as a co-valedictorian of LaPorte High School. Mazur earned fourth place at the Indiana High School Forensic Association's State Speech Finals in memorized duo interpretation and second place at the IHSFA's State Congress Finals. He was one of the top 30 national competitors in original oratory, a three-time winner of his school's Voice of Democracy Essay Contest and an Iselmann Writing Contest winner in the poetry and short story categories.

A member and student coach of Contest Speech, he served as a vice president of the Speech and Debate Boosters and was the sergeant at arms in the Speech and Debate Society. Mazur has pursued his love of music as a member of the show choir, the jazz band and the National Music Honor Society. He achieved Division I rankings in state music solo and ensemble competition, his chorale group twice advanced to the state finals and he was named an outstanding performer at the Calithumpian Show Choir Invitational.

In addition, he earned the state music competition's Division I ranking for original composition and was named a semifinalist in music composition in Project XL. Mazur was president of his school's National Honor Society, fine arts captain for the Scholastic Bowl team and a member of Future Problem Solvers, Quiz Bowl and math teams. He intends to major in entrepreneurship.

The Wells Scholars program also offers special seminars, an optional year of study abroad and support for a summer research project or internship. The Wells Scholars Program emphasizes close interaction with faculty, academic and career advising, opportunities for community service and contact with distinguished visitors.

Examples of past summer experiences include serving with Outreach Kenya Development Volunteers to provide AIDS education and build a public library in western Kenya, conducting research at the National Institutes of Health, performing in the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop and interning at the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Canadian Parliament and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wells Scholars are also members of the Honors College, where they have the opportunity to apply for grants in support of research, teaching internships, professional experience, creative activity, conference travel and honors thesis work.

They are selected for having demonstrated character, leadership and distinction, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Hometown information:
Lawrence J. "Joe" Mazur is the son of Lawrence and Laura Mazur, 326 Oak Dr., LaPorte, Ind.