A Maine Based Scholarship Foundation visits their scholars at USM
By Autumn Hughes – Contributor
This past Friday, September 8th, the University of Southern Maine was honored with a visit from staff members of the Worthington Foundation to the President’s House.
The Worthington Scholarship Foundation, or WSF, has existed since 2010, giving scholarships of varying amounts to Maine high schoolers attempting to pursue higher education. As of today, WSF has granted scholarships to hundreds of students across thirteen different counties, this year being the first application year open to all of the counties in Maine. They work with twenty different higher education institutions and one hundred thirty-two high schools across Maine and the Worthingtons were even awarded honorary degrees from our very own University of Southern Maine during the 2021 commencement ceremony. Current president Julie Bourgoin stated that the foundation gave out a total of six hundred fifty scholarships this year, ninety-six of which were granted to USM students.
In addition to the financial support, the WSF also seeks to give community and an academic support system to their scholars. They have a scholar advocate on the college campuses that they work with, USM’s being a lovely person named Shaunna, and they encourage finding community with other Worthington Scholars, on the college campus, and with the people from the WSF. President Bourgoin said that the foundation “really want[s] students to know that they have people who care for them”.
In listening to the students explain how the scholarship benefits them, the impact has been far reaching and life changing. According to nursing major Holly, “Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be getting an education.” Secondary education major Adelaide echoed this sentiment, saying that she is “just very very grateful to receive it because it’s helped [her] a lot [and] it’s helped take the weight off [her] shoulders”. Trumpet performance major Ryder says that he believes that “the funding is helping [him] pursue [his] passion in the arts, which is something that before getting the scholarship wasn’t really anything feasible that [he] ever thought [he] would be able to do.” Many others felt the same way, as well as expressing gratitude for the community, connections, and opportunities that the WSF has given them.
Due to the great impact of this foundation, a total of about eleven scholars and a handful of faculty gathered at the President’s house despite the sweltering heat. Many others expressed their gratitude for all that the foundation has done for students, including our president, Dr. Jacqueline Edmondson. Dr. Edmonson says that she believes that “ the Worthington Scholars program is such a quality program in the university […] and the students that are in the program are so grateful for the support that they receive.” Elizabeth S. from Financial Aid Services says she has been able to see the impact on students firsthand, and wants to say “Thanks [to the foundation] for their dedication to students in the community.”
So despite standing in the heat for forty minutes, the Free Press is very grateful for the opportunity from the Worthington Scholarship Foundation and the office of the President to share a glimpse of this great community with those who have been unaware of all the good that this foundation has done for the future of Maine students.