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New Avenue for Success

A new scholarship program at Santa Clara University is putting $5 million to work to enhance the University’s mission.

Thanks to the new Santa Clara Johnson Scholars Program, up to 10 of SCU’s most academically accomplished, leadership-minded applicants in each of the next four years will be awarded full, renewable academic scholarships. In addition, during their four years they will be given premier access to the University’s top leadership and honors programs, including the prestigious Johnson Leadership Fellows program. The Fellows program is a summer stipend to be used to create a self-designed leadership experience for students.

“The Johnson Scholars program clears away as many obstacles as possible for our most outstanding students to think in new, expansive ways about how their many talents can best serve the broader world’s needs,” said SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. “The generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson is a tremendous validation of Jesuit historical values and disciplines that have shaped cabinet members, Silicon Valley executives, and other leaders who have walked our campus.”

The 10 freshmen who will be Johnson Scholars this year have been chosen. They hail from Illinois, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, and California. Among the highlights from the students’ impressive school resumes: a Junior Olympic volleyball player who was a National Merit Scholar; an athlete who is also a leader and fundraiser for the Invisible Children Club; an Eagle Scout who tutors first graders and volunteers for the needy; a debate champ who volunteers with seniors and Second Harvest Food Bank; and a U.S. Presidential Scholar who founded an Android app company.

The donors, Maryellie and Rupert Johnson, Jr., say they want to ensure that the most promising next-generation Broncos can start their careers armed with the richest academic and extracurricular experiences, free of student debt.

“We’ve seen the Santa Clara model for nurturing devoted students to their utmost potential turn out some of the nation’s most admired government, sports, and business leaders,” said Mr. Johnson, who is vice chairman and director of the financial firm Franklin Resources, a University trustee, and former member of the Board of Regents.

The scholars must meet demanding criteria to be chosen: a 3.8 GPA or higher; top-tier SAT and ACT scores; proven stellar academic, leadership, and service performance; and active leadership-level participation in immersions, volunteer duty, service clubs, and student government to name a few. Most importantly, they have been identified as individuals of high ethical standards and integrity.

“The Johnson Scholars Program represents the highest level of scholarship opportunity we’ve had at Santa Clara,” said Leilani Miller, director of the University Honors Program and Office of Student Fellowships. “This is a great opportunity for top students to make the most of their college education.”

More on the program is available at

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