March 2, 2009
From VisionSMU newsletter
As a top high school senior interested in art history, Rosemary Parravano was accepted at colleges boasting some of the most highly regarded art history programs in the country, among them SMU.
When the time came to choose where she would spend the next four years of her life, Parravano says that what led her to SMU was the offer of a Sewell Meadows Scholarship, supported by Carl Sewell ’66, chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Peggy ’72.
“When I discovered that not only was I interested in SMU, but that SMU was interested enough in me to offer a Meadows Scholarship, it was perfect, and I knew what my choice would be,” says the first-year student, a graduate of Hockaday School in Dallas.
Parravano is one of 11 students who received a Meadows Scholarship in fall 2008, the program’s inaugural year. The Meadows program offers scholarships that provide an annual stipend of $7,500 per student. Scholars each also receive up to $5,000 during their four years for independent travel and research, funded by the Meadows Foundation Edge for Excellence Grant.
Scholarship offerings such as these are key components of SMU’s successful initiative to improve student quality. Thanks to the generous support of numerous donors, the class of 2012 received the highest number of merit scholarships in SMU history. Thirty-eight first-year students received full-tuition President’s Scholar awards this fall, boosting the total number of undergraduates in the prestigious program to 102. Hunt Leadership Scholarships were awarded to 26 incoming students, while 103 joined the Edwin L. Cox BBA Scholars Program.
These scholars also have helped drive the increase in SMU students’ average SAT scores, which have risen more than 96 points in the past 10 years.
To be eligible for a Meadows Scholarship, students must have earned a combined SAT score of at least 1350 and a minimum high school GPA of 3.5. Most students selected as Meadows Scholars far exceeded the minimum requirements, says José Bowen, Meadows School dean.
“We designed the Meadows Scholars program to help us attract the best students in the country,” Bowen says. “Our goal is to make the Meadows School second to none in the quality of our students and the quality of our programs.”
Twelve supporters, many of them SMU alumni or parents, signed on to launch the program in its first year. SMU is seeking additional commitments of support for the coming year.
In addition to their financial component, Meadows Scholarships offer students the opportunity to be a part of a community of supportive faculty members, dedicated sponsors and gifted and motivated students.
“It’s been amazing meeting other students who are as passionate about their craft as I am about art history,” Parravano says. “I don’t know of any other program that has put together all of these different elements the way SMU has.”
To learn about supporting the Meadows Scholars program, please contact Director of Development Kris Vetter at 214-768-4559 or kvetter@smu.