Meadows Scholars: Setting The Stage For Class Acts

As a high school student interested in studying theater, Victoria Nassif liked what she saw during two visits to SMU.

“The teachers were wonderful and the students were so friendly,” recalls the Austin native. “It seemed everyone wanted to share their joy.”

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Victoria Nassif

An accomplished actress who played lead roles in numerous high school productions, Nassif was accepted at several colleges and universities with top theater programs, including SMU. But when the time came to choose, she says the offer of a Meadows Scholarship sealed the deal.

“SMU was my first choice, but it came down to financial considerations,” she says. “The Meadows Scholarship made it possible for me to be here.”

Nassif, a sophomore, is one of 21 Meadows Scholars. The program, which was launched in fall 2008, was modeled on the successful Cox B.B.A. Scholars program in the School of Business. The Meadows program offers scholarships in each of the school’s disciplines, providing an annual stipend of $7,500 per student. Each scholar also receives up to $5,000 for travel and research, funded by the Meadows Foundation Edge for Excellence Grant.

Increasing student quality through additional support for merit-based scholarships, such as the Meadows Scholars program, is a key goal of SMU’s Second Century Campaign. The University has demonstrated that such support helps SMU attract and retain top students; SAT scores for entering undergraduate students have risen by 98 points in the past 11 years as scholarship support has increased.

More than 20 donors have provided support for Meadows Scholars to date. The school is seeking additional support – through endowments or annual gifts – to fund 20 Meadows Scholarships each year. Donors who pledge $7,500 for four years, or who provide a permanent endowment of $150,000, are entitled to name a scholarship.

“There is nothing more important than educating the next generation of artists who will define our culture in the future,” says Carol Jackson Riddle ’70, ’80, who, with her husband, Michael L. Riddle, endowed the scholarship that Nassif received. “You also get to see what your student does and watch her mature.”

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