United World Colleges students add diversity to Chicago’s CollegeBy Julia Morse
Hungary, China, Malaysia, Israel, Singapore and India are just some of the countries that are home to alumni of the United World Colleges.
“These students add to the rich diversity of our international student population,” said Isabel Gomez, Assistant Director of College Admissions. “And with our new participation in the Davis United World College Scholars Program, we hope to enroll even more of these students in the coming years.”
Beginning with the Class of 2012, the Davis United World College Scholars Program will award up to $20,000 a year to alumni of the United World Colleges with financial need, if five or more of these students enroll at Chicago that year.
Dean of the College John Boyer said, “The faculty and I are delighted to be able to offer this extraordinary scholarship to help United World College students attend the University of Chicago and join our talented international student population.”
Of the record 133 international first-year students who enrolled in the College this fall, six were graduates of the United World Colleges. Last year, 10 United World College alumni were among 118 international first-years who enrolled in the College. In 2005, seven of Chicago’s 86 international first-years were alumni of the United World Colleges.
“Our hope is that the new participation in the Davis scholarship program will allow us to attract even more students from the United World Colleges,” Gomez said. “By completing an education with the United World Colleges, these are students who already have decided they want to be a part of a community were their voice is greatly valued. Chicago is often an ideal place for them to go next.”
There are 12 United World Colleges around the world, which each enroll some of the world’s best high school students. The schools are located in the United Kingdom, Norway, Venezuela, Singapore, Canada, South Africa, New Mexico, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Costa Rica and Bosnia.
“I believe so strongly in these schools and in the students they produce,” Gomez said. “They come to Chicago with an incredible sense of personal power, purpose and an amazing appreciation for diversity. You meet these kids and you known instantly that they are going to make a difference.”
Founded in 1962, the United World Colleges are known for their high academic standards, diversity, focus on community service and student exposure to new communities and cultures.
Gomez recalled hearing of a student from Jordan whose own conservative Muslim upbringing led him to judge more liberal Muslims and to refuse to speak to female classmates when he first enrolled at the United World College in Norway. By the time he graduated and returned for a class reunion some years later, he had become more open, approachable and friendly with his former classmates, including the women. “This story is evidence of how an education with the United World Colleges can open students’ minds and their understanding of other cultures, other ways of life,” Gomez said.
Currently, 76 American institutions participate in the Davis United World College Scholars Program, including Amherst College, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Harvard College, Dartmouth College and Yale University.
Established in 2001 with pilot programs at Colby College, College of the Atlantic, Middlebury College, Princeton University and Wellesley College, the Davis program now assists more than 1,000 students from more than 120 different countries who are studying at American institutions.
On the Davis scholarship Web page, philanthropist Shelby Davis is quoted as saying, “I’m trying to stimulate the leaders of the future to make a difference, through the grounding in education that I’m helping to give them. When I started my career, I took my own history lesson from Princeton: I learned how leaders make a difference, in their countries, in their centuries. So I invested in leaders, and that investment helped me to be successful É I’m looking now to invest again in leaders of the future.”