Mary Grace von Thron, Campus Carrier opinions editor
Berry College has created a new scholarship program that aims to help students engage in all that Berry has to offer.
According to Vice President for Enrollment, Andrew Bressette, the Roosevelt Scholarship program was created to help students who could potentially be at risk to not engage in the Berry community during their first semester or who might need extra guidance or mentoring to be able to take advantage of the full Berry experience.
The process of selecting students for the Roosevelt Scholarship is based on multiple different things, Bressette said.
“We evaluate a lot of materials. We look at their extracurricular involvement. We look at their grades, we look at their leadership, we look at their recommendations,” Bressette said. “We’ve also looked at some data that would suggest there are certain attributes that might mean that a student could be successful, but maybe doesn’t always persist at Berry.”
After looking through all the applications of admitted students, Associate Provost David Slade and Director of the Academic Success Center Anna Sharpe were tasked with identifying which incoming students would best benefit from being a part of the Roosevelt scholarship.
The ultimate goal for students involved in the program is to have them find their path while they are at Berry and have them contribute to the school and be engaged and involved in campus life.
“We know that engagement is a key way that helps students find their place and stay,” Bressette said. “And if students don’t engage and don’t find their place, they often don’t stay.”
Bressette also mentioned that studies have shown that college students are more likely to have a better college experience when they are frequently connected with a mentor.
“The Gallup organization has done some studies that show that students who connect with a mentor on their college campus often have better college experiences and are more successful as graduates. You see examples of this sometimes with athletic teams where you come in, you’ve got a community, you bond, you do other activities.”
Discussions to create a scholarship program like this began in the spring of 2019. The first recipients of the Roosevelt scholarship arrived as freshmen on campus in the fall of 2020. There are approximately 65 to 70 Roosevelt scholars total in both the freshmen and sophomore class.
The scholarship programs name is a reference to Theodore Roosevelt who was the 26th President of the United States from 1901-1909. Roosevelt was also a friend of Martha Berry’s and visited the school in 1909.
“[Roosevelt] really kind of felt that Berry was a great practical example of how you can get and create engaged citizenship,” Bressette said. “And so it was kind of in this spirit that we thought ‘he was all about ‘how do you educate and create great citizens who go on to do great things?’ so that names seemed to fit in in terms of trying to say ‘how do we capture and support students to help them become great Berry alumni?’”