30th class of Flinn Scholars to attend Arizona public universities

April 23, 2015

By Matt Ellsworth

PHOENIX—Twenty-one of Arizona’s highest-achieving high-school seniors have been awarded the 2015 Flinn Scholarship, which will provide them a comprehensive educational package at an Arizona public university.

The highly competitive, merit-based scholarship, valued at more than $115,000, includes the cost of tuition to one of the three state universities, room and board, funding for international study-related travel and professional development, support for an off-campus internship, university faculty mentorship, and other benefits.

This year marks the 30th class of Flinn Scholars. The Flinn Foundation Board of Directors authorized the creation of the Flinn Scholars Program in the fall of 1985, with the inaugural class selected the following spring.

“The incoming class of Flinn Scholars carries on the tradition of our state’s brightest students choosing to receive a world-class education at an Arizona university,” said Jack B. Jewett, Flinn Foundation President & CEO. “Our 30th class of Scholars is a talented and dedicated group of students from a diverse mix of high schools who have excelled academically and in service to their school and community.”

The 21 Scholars represent 19 high schools from around the state. There are two high schools with two Scholars each—Mountain View High School and Westwood High School, both of Mesa. The Scholars hail from several regions of the state, including Flagstaff, Nogales, Prescott, Show Low, and Yuma.

Four of the high schools are celebrating their first Flinn Scholar— BASIS Chandler, BASIS Flagstaff, Cienega High School of Vail, and South Mountain High School of Phoenix.

The prospective majors of the Scholars, many of whom turned down offers from the nation’s most elite universities to accept the Flinn Scholarship, include biology, engineering, business management, film, journalism, sustainability, mathematics, global studies, computer science, space exploration, neuroscience and more.

There were 760 applications submitted by Arizona high-school seniors for the 2015 Flinn Scholarship, translating to an acceptance rate of 2.7 percent.

“Our selection process seeks something beyond what might gain a student admission to the most competitive universities in the nation,” said Matt Ellsworth, Flinn Scholars Program director and a 1993 Flinn Scholar. “Our interviewers saw in each of these students not only extraordinary achievement, but also the potential to strengthen their future professions and transform their broader communities for the better.”

Applications are submitted each fall to the Flinn Foundation. This year, a review committee narrowed the field to 75 students, who were invited for a semifinalist interview. In March, 42 finalists took part in a second round of interviews with the Selection Committee, comprised of four Arizona leaders in business, education, and public affairs. The 21 Scholars accepted their offers by April.

The Flinn Scholars Class of 2015, along with 21 Scholars who will be graduating from Arizona’s universities this year, will be honored at the annual Recognition Dinner in May at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix before nearly 200 family members, university officials, teachers, and community leaders. At the event, each new Flinn Scholar will recognize an educator who has influenced him or her in a substantial way. The Scholars will begin their undergraduate studies in August.

The benefits of the scholarship, in addition to covering eight semesters of study at an Arizona public university, include:

  • A three-week summer seminar program in China following the freshman year and at least one additional study or professional-development experience abroad or within the United States;
  • Mentorship from top faculty and exposure to local and world leaders, including Arizona’s leading business, civic, and academic minds;
  • Fellowship in an extraordinary community of about 80 current and 480 alumni Scholars; and
  • Membership in a university honors college/program with the many amenities it provides, such as small classes, guest lectures, and research experiences.

The typical Flinn Scholar has at least a 3.5 grade-point average, a ranking in the top 5 percent of their graduating class, a score of at least 1300 on the SAT test or 29 on the ACT, and participation and demonstrated leadership in extracurricular activities.

The Flinn Scholars Program is operated by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and supported by the Flinn Foundation, a Phoenix-based private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization.

The Flinn Foundation in 2015 is celebrating 50 years since its founding by a generous Phoenix couple as a means to perpetuate their personal goodness and humanity in a way that would benefit the residents of Arizona.

Dr. Robert Flinn, a cardiologist and one of Arizona’s leading medical practitioners, and Irene Flinn, a woman of considerable wealth and generous philanthropy, created the privately endowed organization in 1965. Their mission was elegantly simple: “To improve the quality of life in Arizona.”

In addition to the Scholars Program, whose creation was inspired by Dr. and Mrs. Flinn, the Foundation supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.

For more information:

2015 Flinn Scholars