An anonymous donor has given $20 million to Centre College in Danville to create full scholarships for students who want to "change the world."
The new Lincoln Scholars Program will pay for tuition, room and board, books and fees for four years, plus a one-time award of $10,000 for study abroad, internships or undergraduate research after the students' freshmen year.
The program will start in fall 2016 with 10 students, and 10 more students will be added each year until 40 Lincoln Scholars are enrolled by 2019.
Centre officials said they hoped the new program, named for Abraham Lincoln, would attract students who are "inspired by the 'better angels' of their nature."
"More than ever before, thanks to this generous challenge gift, we will be able to fulfill our mission as a place of opportunity," said Centre President John Roush. "Adding yet another premier scholarship program will help Centre attract the best and brightest young men and women, irrespective of their ability to pay."
The scholarship program is part of a $200 million capital campaign for the university, which aims to raise an additional $20 million for the Lincoln Scholars Program.
The overall fundraising effort, dubbed Third Century Campaign, will conclude Jan. 21, 2019, the bicentennial anniversary of Centre's founding in 1819.
This fall, Centre plans to start another scholarship program, the Grissom Scholars, which provides a full ride for 10 students who are the first in their families to go to college.
High school students interested in the Lincoln Scholars Program must apply for admission to Centre by Jan. 15 of their senior year.
Bob Nesmith, Centre's dean of admissions and financial aid, said the new program would look for students who demonstrated "unusual ambition and energy."
"It can be through extraordinary leadership or service, it can be through intellectual accomplishment; there are a number of different ways to engage that ambition," he said. "It's somebody who really wants to play on a national stage."