The Rudd Foundation is pleased to announce its fifth class of Rudd Scholars, each of whom will receive a 4-year college scholarship to attend either Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University or Wichita State University to obtain a degree of their choice (full list attached). Each Rudd Scholarship covers all tuition and fees, books and supplies, and on-campus room and board remaining after other aid, grants, and scholarships received by the student. The expected value for the 30 new recipients over four years is approximately $1.2 million.
These newly selected scholars will bring the program’s total to 111 Rudd Scholars for the fall 2022 semester. This represents a financial commitment of approximately $5 million to date since the program’s inception in 2018.
“The Foundation is honored to offer the Rudd Scholarship to each of these remarkable students, who are, without exception, extraordinary in their intellect, work ethic and determination,” said Darrell Swank, President of the Rudd Foundation. “Leslie Rudd’s vision in establishing this scholarship program was to provide students of this caliber with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the college experience, graduate without debt and be inspired to pursue their own passions and dreams, all while developing a deep connection to their Kansas roots. As we witness the Rudd Scholars advance through our program and enter their chosen fields, we are seeing this come to fruition and Mr. Rudd would be very proud.”
Of this new class, 16 scholars will attend Wichita State, 7 scholars will attend Fort Hays State, and 7 scholars will attend Emporia State. The selection process for this scholarship is very competitive, with the selection committee seeking to learn about the student and his or her story, in addition to their grades, test scores, and activities, through essays, letters of recommendation, and for the 50 finalists, a personal interview. This year’s process involved selecting the thirty winners from a strong candidate pool of nearly 1000 students from all over the state who began the process.
The Rudd Scholarship program goes beyond meeting the financial needs of its students by offering mentoring, networking and professional development activities, and internship opportunities, as well as encouraging involvement in philanthropic organizations.
Corri Roberts, Director of the Rudd Scholarship Program, is personally involved with the selection process and with mentoring and coaching the scholars throughout their journey through college.
“We started this program in 2018 to provide Kansas students who demonstrate our core values of grit, determination and work ethic with an incredible opportunity to graduate from college with a four-year degree and no debt,” said Ms. Roberts. “As this program has grown and our first class of Rudd Scholars is graduating, however, we have come to appreciate that this program is much more than a financial investment in these young people. We strive to provide them with mentorship and guidance throughout their education and look forward to seeing the fruits of that investment as we connect new scholars with program alumni.”
For Mr. Swank and the other Rudd Foundation Board members, including Leslie Rudd’s daughter, Samantha Rudd, and sister, Andrea Skibell, as well as long-time friends and business partners, Steven Kay and Pat Roney, the experience of meeting with the students and understanding their individual stories has been inspiring.
“The Rudd Scholars are an impressive group of young people who have achieved so much personally and in education despite what often seems like insurmountable obstacles,” said Swank. “We on the Foundation Board continue to be inspired by the students and are proud to watch as they connect with each other than their communities. We believe these individuals will have a positive lasting impact on our state.”