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Inaugural Soaring Together Scholarship Program Attracts 1,334 Applicants

Lehigh will welcome eight to 10 scholars into the program in first year.

In all, 1,334 (!) applicants to Lehigh wrote essays, designed websites or produced videos in hopes of being selected to the inaugural Soaring Together Scholarship Program, which provides full-tuition merit scholarships—along with experiential learning opportunities, alumni support and career and professional development—in celebration of 50 years of Lehigh women and coeducation at Lehigh.

The applicants were asked to demonstrate their interest in and commitment to advancing gender equity. Admissions reports that 72% of applicants are women, 27% men and 1% non-binary. Out of those 1,334 we’ll welcome eight to 10 Soaring Together Scholars into the program this inaugural year, and in a few years will have a group of 50 in the cohort across all class years. The program is made possible thanks to endowed gifts from generous alumni and their spouses.

In the meantime, we’re busy working with partners including Athletics, The Center for Gender Equity, The Office of Fraternities and Sororities, the new Lehigh 360 program and the generous donors funding the scholarships to develop a web of support and opportunities for this group; it’s a cohort scholarship model unlike any Lehigh has offered before.

Our strategy for developing new programs is usually to look across our peer institutions and model best practices, but in this case WE are the pioneers: There’s nobody to model! There are certainly other merit scholarships, but none quite like this cohort model, where the donors and students are part of a team working toward a common goal. More to come as the program gets underway.

Speaking of admissions, did you hear that we had the highest number of women applicants to Lehigh in our history? Or that overall, Lehigh received more than 18,000 applications total, which is an increase of 21% over last year?

It’s hard to pinpoint the specific levers that led to the increase, but I have to believe that the great things you’re doing in the world and the reputations you’ve built have a cumulative eect: As more people hear about Lehigh and our depth and breadth of academic experiences, more want to be part of our community. So keep talking about Lehigh, keep hiring Lehigh students and other alumni, and keep supporting the amazing programs and extracurriculars that you credit with making you the successful alumni you are today! (Sidenote: Giving Day is April 19!)

Yours in Brown & White,
Jennifer Cunningham
Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations

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