New Davies-Jackson Scholarship Awarded; Past Scholars Convene in Washington for Reunion

​​2016 SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED

The Davies-Jackson Scholarship U.S. Selection Committee convened in December 2015 and forwarded top applications to St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge for review. The finalist for the 2016 Davies-Jackson Scholarship was selected in January: Melissa Hopkins, a senior at Bucknell University (PA) who will graduate with a degree in psychology this spring, will be the 25th award recipient since the Scholarship’s inception and the first selected to read at the world-renowned college in the area of psychology and behavioral sciences.
 
Intended for applicants with exceptional academic records and who are among the first generation in their families to graduate from college, the Scholarship provides full support for two years of study at St. John’s College, including travel to and from England. Applicants are typically graduating seniors from the eligible colleges and universities, and those selected for the award work toward a second BA in their area of study as affiliated students. Named after two Cambridge fellows who tutored the anonymous donor during his years at Cambridge—Hugh Sykes Davies and R. Meredith Jackson—the award program began in 1990 and was initially administered by the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education that later became an operating part of the Council of Independent Colleges. Since 2003, the Scholarship has been administered by CIC with a successively expanded list of eligible institutions that now includes 500 CIC member institutions.
 
Application information about the 2017 Scholarship competition will become available this September. Further information about the award is available at www.cic.edu/DaviesJackson.
 

Scholarship alumni Richard Pressley and Delicia Reynolds mingle during the reception at the reunion weekend for Davies-Jackson scholars.
Scholarship alumni Richard Pressley (Butler University [IN]) and Delicia Reynolds (Saint Peter’s University [NJ]) mingle during the reception at the reunion weekend for Davies-Jackson scholars.


SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS GATHERED FOR INSPIRING REUNION

Ten past recipients of the Davies-Jackson Scholarship gathered in Washington, DC, for a reunion weekend along with nine members of the program’s U.S. Selection Committee and CIC staff. The alumni reunion, which took place December 3–4, 2015, at the Cosmos Club, also brought St. John’s College’s senior tutor, Matthias Dörrzapf, and development director, Stephen Teal, from Cambridge to participate in events that included an opening reception, a day of discussion about the impact and future of the program, and a celebratory dinner.
 
George Farr, chair of the U.S. Selection Committee, welcomed participants and opened the discussion. Participants delivered remarks in remembrance of Graham Down, the beloved longtime chair of the committee who passed away unexpectedly in August 2014. Down was warmly remembered for enthusiastically encouraging the Scholarship holders to take full advantage of the time at Cambridge and to immerse themselves in the life of the college and not just in their studies—and the Scholars took his advice to heart. For example, Delicia Reynolds, who received the Scholarship in 1999 after graduating from Saint Peter’s University (NJ), famously organized the first gospel choir at St. John’s College, while other recipients resurrected the Cambridge Pythons American football team and worked at a bird sanctuary in Ireland, among many other endeavors fondly remembered during the reunion. All awardees also are encouraged to travel using funds from the Scholarship and other sources available from Cambridge. Over the years, Scholars have explored various parts of the world including Morocco, Hong Kong, Qatar, and nearly every corner of Europe—from Scotland to Sicily.
 

George Farr, chair of the Scholarship’s U.S. Selection Committee, catches up with scholarship recipient Colleen Willenbring and selection committee member Yvonne Burt at the opening reception.
George Farr, chair of the Scholarship’s U.S. Selection Committee, catches up with scholarship recipient Colleen Willenbring (left) and selection committee member Yvonne Burt (right) at the opening reception.

 Alumni shared what they have been involved in since their time at Cambridge, as well as anecdotes about their time as Scholars. One of the Scholarship’s first recipients, Colleen Willenbring, who was selected for the award in 1997 and graduated from the College of Saint Benedict (MN) with a degree in English, is now assistant professor and co-chair of the English department at Eastern University (PA). She recalled her transition to the British tutorial system and spoke of finding an “intellectual home” at Cambridge.
 
Lindsay Brainard, an alumna of the College of Wooster (OH) who received the Scholarship award in 2010 and went on to earn a master’s degree in philosophy from Cambridge, is now a fifth-year PhD student in the philosophy program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brainard stated, “The reunion created a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with dear friends I met through the Davies-Jackson Scholarship program and to meet several Scholars and committee members for the first time. It was remarkable to hear how much the Scholarship has positively influenced everyone’s lives. For my part, I have no doubt that my current career goals would not have been realistic without the springboard of the Davies-Jackson Scholarship. My time in Cambridge broadened my sense of what I could achieve with my life, and having that achievement on my résumé heightened the world’s estimation of my potential. The combination of these effects has led me to a richer, more intellectually exciting path than the one I was on before I was chosen as a Davies-Jackson Scholar.”
 
Reunion participants also discussed the state of St. John’s College in 2015. Scholars heard from Teal about the college’s fundraising efforts and from Dörrzapf about the Scholarship’s relationship with the college since he became senior tutor in 2003. According to Dörrzapf, St. John’s College receives about 900 applications each year for just 171 places. The Davis-Jackson Scholarship was the first international scholarship offered by the college and is now a model for others. In fact, a parallel scholarship for British first-generation, low-income students, the John Crook, was developed in 2011. Since 1990, 24 American students have been given the opportunity to study at St. John’s College in the areas of English, philosophy, history, social and political sciences, and music. The Davies-Jackson Scholarship program continues to expand and has recently added education and biological anthropology as applicable areas of study. In 2015, for the first time ever, three students received the award in the same year. And in 2014, Courtney Dymowski, after graduating from St. Edward’s University (TX), became the first Scholarship awardee to concentrate her studies at Cambridge in the area of art history.
 
Reunion participants also reviewed and commented on a recently developed handbook for new Davies-Jackson Scholars. Created by current and past awardees, the handbook compiles useful information for those newly entering Great Britain and the college.
 

Group photo of ten past scholarship recipients, members of the U.S. Selection Committee, fellows from St. John’s College, and CIC staff.
The Davies-Jackson Scholarship reunion event brought together ten past scholarship recipients, members of the U.S. Selection Committee, fellows from St. John’s College, and CIC staff.



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