March 30, 2010 — A newly announced program at the University of Utah guarantees that well-qualified students entering the U as freshmen will be admitted to one of the university’s elite graduate programs upon completion of their undergraduate degree. U President Michael K. Young says the new program will begin this fall, and will be administered by the university’s Honors College under the direction of Dean Martha Bradley.
The innovative program was announced in conjunction with a $1.2 million contribution from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, which will fund the Eccles Distinguished Scholar Awards as part of the new program. Top students from throughout Utah will be eligible to apply for the Eccles Distinguished Scholar Awards, which will provide the most generous undergraduate scholarship support available at the U, including full tuition, housing and fees. Eccles Distinguished Scholars will also receive mentoring, advising and academic opportunities through the Honors College.
“Increasingly the U attracts highly qualified students who begin college with the expectation of going on to earn a graduate-level degree,” says Young. “This program further strengthens our commitment to provide a truly transformative educational experience for those students, and the Eccles Distinguished Scholar Awards make this an extraordinary opportunity for Utah residents. We are deeply grateful for the support of the Eccles Foundation.”
Lisa Eccles, a member of the U’s Board of Trustees and president of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, said the foundation’s $1.2 million gift reflected its strong support for education in Utah. “This grant builds on our long tradition of providing scholarships for many of the U’s colleges, departments and programs,” Eccles said. “We are delighted to partner with the U in opening new doors of opportunity for exceptional undergraduates who have set the highest of academic goals.”
During the past three decades, George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation grants have funded more than $7 million in scholarships in areas throughout the U. “Our directors firmly believe that investments in students are dollars that will ultimately strengthen the future vitality of our state and all its citizens,” said Eccles. “We are delighted that the new Eccles Distinguished Scholar Awards will afford recognition to some of our state’s most outstanding student-scholars and encourage them to become a part of the U’s Honors Program, where they can experience a world-class education right here at home.”
Martha Bradley, dean of the U’s Honors College, said the Eccles Scholar Awards represent a remarkable opportunity for highly qualified Utah students, enabling them to focus more on their studies and participate more fully in student life. “This funding gives the program an enormous boost,” Bradley said. “Those entering the Early Assurance program-including Eccles Distinguished Scholars-will have the opportunity to learn in small cohorts, live in dedicated housing with like-minded peers and receive the attention and nurturing usually only seen in elite liberal arts settings.”
While early assurance programs at other universities require students to declare their graduate selection upon admission, the U’s program is unique for its “open-track system” that allows students to take courses for two years before declaring their graduate program intentions. After graduating with their bachelor’s degree and fulfilling requirements, students participating in the Early Assurance Program will be automatically accepted into one of the U’s elite graduate programs. All the U’s colleges and departments are participating, with the exception of Medicine and Fine Arts, which require separate applications.
The application deadline for participation in the Early Assurance Program is April 2, 2010. For more information about the Early Assurance Program, the Eccles Distinguished Scholar Awards and application forms, visit www.earlyassurance.utah.edu or contact the Honors College for more information.