Multi-year, Multi-million-dollar Commitment Will Fund Davis UWC Scholarships, Promote Global Understanding

A major new scholarship program announced this spring—the Davis United World College Scholars program—will pay tuition and other expenses for scores of qualified students from all over the world who gain admission to five prestigious U.S. colleges. The Shelby M.C. Davis family has pledged to pay, beginning this fall, 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need, including relief from loans and campus or summer jobs, for all graduates of the United World College (UWC) movement who matriculate at Middlebury College, College of the Atlantic, Colby College, Wellesley College, and Princeton University.

The United World Colleges are 10 pre-university-level schools located on five continents and dedicated to promoting international understanding through education. Some 2,000 students from 16 to 19 years of age from all corners of the globe live and study together at the schools in challenging academic programs that foster peace and cooperation. Now they are all eligible for Davis UWC scholarships to continue their education at the undergraduate institutions named.

The Davis gift is unusual in several respects:

. It is an open-ended, multi-year, multi-million-dollar commitment to cover tuition, room, board, and expenses for as many UWC graduates as gain admission to the five schools and demonstrate financial need. “It’s a gift without a ceiling,” said Philip O. Geier, president of the United World College in New Mexico;

. Since the preponderance of UWC graduates are from foreign countries, the scholarships address a neglected niche in the financial aid sector insofar as international students wishing to attend U.S. institutions vie for very limited financial aid resources;

. It is the second phase of the Davises’ initiative on behalf of UWC students, coming on the heels of a $45-million gift last year that established 100 full merit scholarships for teenagers to attend the United World Colleges.

“I believe that recognizing and building on international diversity through education at an influential age is central to the possibilities for global harmony in this new millennium,” said Shelby M.C. Davis in announcing the scholarships to presidents of the five American institutions.

The scholarships will provide resources for significant numbers of the brightest and best-prepared foreign students, who do not qualify for American government grant, loan, and work programs, to attend some of America’s top undergraduate institutions. As a result, America’s future leaders will gain a more international perspective from living and studying side by side with individuals from different countries and different cultures, Davis said. The scholarships will allow the participating schools to admit qualified UWC applicants from anywhere in the world regardless of their financial means, thereby contributing to the diversity of the college communities, and expanding the world view of all the students.

This year there are 31 UWC graduates enrolled at the five American schools where the scholarships will be offered. The new scholarship program promises to increase that number significantly-this spring, just between Middlebury and Colby the number of applications from UWC graduates increased to more than 120.

The UWC movement was founded in 1962 to create a school where youth of the world could unite to gain knowledge and understanding of various races and cultures. Queen Noor of Jordan is the current president of the UWCs, and Nelson Mandela is president of the International Council of UWCs.

Middlebury’s President John M. McCardell, Jr. said, “The establishment of the Davis UWC Scholars Program is the most important support for international student financial aid that Middlebury College has ever received. Every student at Middlebury College benefits from the presence of international students on campus and in the classrooms.”

Located in Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Norway, Singapore, Swaziland, Venezuela, Wales, and the United States, the UWCs offer a unique program of academic and experiential education for students from more than 100 countries. Students end their two years of study by taking the International Baccalaureate exams, which can earn credits transferable to universities and colleges worldwide.

The UWC mission of promoting international cooperation and harmony was compelling to the Davis family because it matched the international tradition of the family and its business, said Andrew Davis, president of Davis Selected Advisers L.C. In 1998, the Davises established a full merit scholarship endowment to support 100 American teenagers to attend United World Colleges around the world-a program conceived as a privately funded, junior version of the famous Fulbright Scholarships. The new Davis UWC Scholarships are a logical next step that will augment important international initiatives already under way at all five institutions of higher education. Davis said, “That’s critical. If a college isn’t thinking internationally today, it’s going to be out of business-the same as in the business world.”

Contacts: Phil Benoit, Middlebury College, ph: 802-443-5198