Transylvania receives $5 million gift for student academic scholarships

Transylvania University has received a $5 million gift — one of the largest in its history — for student scholarships.

The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust gave the money to establish the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund for Student Scholarships. The Kenan Scholarships will be given to incoming Transylvania students based on merit.

Members of the fall 2013 freshman class will be the first to receive the scholarships.

"This new scholarship program is a significant addition to the group of merit scholarships that we are able to offer outstanding students from across the country," Transylvania President Owen Williams said. "We appreciate very much the generosity of the trustees of the Kenan Charitable Trust in making this award and for their belief in the value of a Transylvania liberal arts education."

The conditions of the grant require that Transylvania raise an additional $5 million over the next three years to fully establish the $10 million endowment.

Dean of admissions Brad Goan said the gift enables Transylvania to establish a second tier of scholarships below the William T. Young awards. Each year, 20 Young Scholars receive full tuition and fees. The Kenan Scholarships will be given to 10 students, who will receive $19,000 a year in tuition, about two-thirds of the roughly $29,000 tuition and fees.

Both Young and Kenan scholarships are based solely on academic merit, not need.

"One of the things we're trying to do is increase the academic quality of our student body," Goan said. "By offering a scholarship opportunity, we hope to attract a greater number of those top-tiered students."