Adriana Owens and Kian Williams

Two Hutchinson High School seniors are members of the fourth class of Rudd Scholars and have received full-ride scholarships to Wichita State University.

Adriana Owens and Kian Williams are among 30 Kansas seniors who will receive a four-year college scholarship as Rudd Scholars. The Rudd Foundation allows its scholars to choose from Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University or Wichita State University. Owens and Williams will attend WSU.

The Rudd Scholarship covers all remaining tuition and fees, books and supplies and on-campus room and board, after other aid, grants and scholarships are applied to a student’s account. The expected value for the 30 new recipients over four years is approximately $1.1 million.

With the additional 30 scholars, there are expected to be 103 Rudd Scholars in total this upcoming Fall 2021. This represents approximately a $4 million financial commitment to date since the program’s inception in 2018.

“We are privileged to announce the exceptionally high-caliber, well-rounded students that were selected as Rudd Scholars this year,” said Darrell Swank, president of the Rudd Foundation. “By removing the financial burden associated with a college education, it is our hope that these individuals will be actively involved on campus, maintain good grades, graduate in four years debt-free and thus be well-positioned to pursue their passions and dreams in whatever vocations they desire.”

Of the 30 new scholars, 19 will be attending Wichita State, seven at Fort Hays State and four at Emporia State. The scholarship is earned through a competitive selection process that includes the applicant’s grades, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation and, for the 50 finalists, a personal interview. This year’s process involved selecting the 30 winners from a record number of more than 1,300 students from all over the state who began the process.

“We started the Rudd Scholar Program four years ago and continue to find extremely talented young women and men in our Kansas high schools, who possess the Midwestern values of grit, determination and work ethic, all qualities Mr. Rudd valued,” said Corri Roberts, director of the Rudd Foundation. “We believe by supporting these young leaders to continue their education in Kansas, they will follow their passions and give back to their communities and the state.”

In addition to living on campus and carrying a full load of classes towards their college degree, scholars will receive mentoring and coaching to help them graduate in four years and build essential academic and life skills. They will also participate in developmental activities outside the classroom, network with leaders in their future professions, build relationships among themselves and serve to help the next generation of scholars through an active and connected alumni association after graduation.

          “By this time next year, we will have over 100 Rudd Scholars on campus and supporting one another,” Swank said. “Our intent is that they will continue to network with each other after graduation as they continue on their trajectory of being positive contributors to our Kansas communities and society as a whole.”