L&C to Welcome First Posse Scholars

Lewis & Clark has begun a five-year partnership with the Posse Foundation to provide mentoring and full-tuition scholarships to exceptional students from diverse backgrounds. The inaugural cohort—10 students from Washington, D.C.—will arrive on campus this fall.

Posse works with a network of public high schools and community-based organizations in 10 cities, relying on a unique recruitment strategy to identify the strongest candidates. The method has come with striking results: Posse scholars graduate at a rate of 90 percent, and nearly half go on to pursue graduate degrees. In 2010, President Barack Obama donated a portion of his $1.4 million Nobel Prize award to the Posse Foundation, one of 10 organizations he chose to recognize.

Eric Staab, Lewis & Clark’s vice president of admissions and financial aid, noted that the program’s emphasis on change-making lends itself to a natural relationship between Lewis & Clark and the Posse Foundation.

“What I love about the Posse program is its commitment to not only give traditionally underrepresented students access to college, but to provide them with the support mechanisms they need to succeed,” he says. “Posse is truly a leadership development program.”

When Lewis & Clark’s Posse Scholars arrive on campus this fall, it will be the first time they’ve met in person. However, the group has already formed a tight bond with weekly virtual meetings to prepare for the transition.

“Even just in the first couple of pre-collegiate training sessions, working with the other nine scholars has shown that the people who I’m going to Lewis & Clark with are really keen on making a difference, and that’s been amazing,” says George Steene, an incoming scholar from Lake Braddock Secondary School.

For each of the students, moving to the Pacific Northwest will provide a unique avenue for growth. Many were attracted to the college from their earliest impression.

“When I looked up Lewis & Clark and saw the forest around it, I was like this is so cool,” says Sania Starnes, an incoming scholar from John R. Lewis High School. “I’ve never been to Oregon before, and

I love the outdoors. It seemed like a really cool opportunity to be able to leave my area and explore something new.”

Trustee Patrick Nielson BA ’71 and his wife, Dorris Nielson, have generously pledged $250,000 to provide funding for the operational costs of this partnership. In addition to full-tuition scholarships provided by Lewis & Clark and its donors, program costs include faculty mentors, an annual retreat, and travel. You can join this effort by making a gift to the Posse Scholarship Fund or by becoming a Posse Partner who contributes $25,000 annually to meet the needs of one of our scholars. For more information, visit go.lclark.edu/posse.