May 20, 2010

First-year student Roza Essaw jumped right into the political scene at SMU, serving on the Student Senate and competing as a member of the debate team.


Roza Essaw combines majors in corporate communications and public affairs and political science.

She felt that both activities would be vital in developing the skills to enter
public service and politics one day. Essaw is combining a major in corporate communications and public affairs in Meadows School of the Arts with a second
major in political science in Dedman College.

Matthew Rispoli, a sophomore with majors in electrical engineering, physics and math, serves as a research lab assistant in the Physics Department of Dedman College and is working on a project at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab in the Lyle School of Engineering.

Both students exemplify the bright minds who pursue broad interests as recipients of SMU merit scholarships. Essaw attends SMU on a Hunt Leadership Scholarship, which provides tuition and fees, less the amount of resident tuition and fees at the leading public school of the student’s state of residency, along with other benefits such as education abroad.

Rispoli says his Lyle Engineering Fellows Scholarship “greatly leveled the financial playing field. This was a major selling point because it allowed me to then judge [competing] colleges on what they truly had to offer,” such as the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research.


Matthew Rispoli and his project at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab in the Lyle School of Engineering.

They are among the more than 51 percent of SMU undergraduates who receive some form of merit scholarship aid, based on high school grades, SAT scores, leadership and other accomplishments.

SMU’s top merit package is the President’s Scholars Program, which provides full tuition and fees, room and board while in a residence hall, education abroad, mentoring, and special events such as a retreat at SMU-in-Taos and dinners with faculty.

Scholarship programs within the college and schools, such as Dedman Scholars, Cox B.B.A. Scholars, Meadows Scholars and Lyle Fellows, attract and reward undergraduates in specific fields.

Endowed scholarships support students with exceptional ability, at a time when more universities are offering competitive merit scholarships to a limited pool of high-achieving students. For this reason, increasing scholarship endowments is a major goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign. Other scholarships depend on consistent and generous annual giving.

“Increasing student quality isn’t only about test scores and rankings,” President R. Gerald Turner says. “Just as important, the quality of the student body supports the teaching and research conducted by faculty, as well as the interchange among students both in and out of the classroom. The right combination of students creates an academic environment that inspires excellence across campus.”

Read more about scholarships

Rachel Kittrell: Opening Doors To New Possibilities
Daniel Sanabria: Indescribable Changes, Immeasurable Dividends
Alaa Al-Barghuthi: The Investment Of A Lifetime
Andrea Norris Kline ’08: Making Her Mark On History
Tameca Robertson ’99: Engineering With Heart
Scott Krouse ’03: The World Is His Office
The Donor Difference