Wofford awards hundreds of scholarships each year: academic awards; awards for United Methodist students; scholarships for student- athletes, student-artists and student-entrepreneurs; Bonner Scholarships for students who will participate in community-based learning; Gateway Scholarships for first-generation college students; awards for students who are from out of state or from underserved populations.
“These awards make the Wofford College liberal arts educational experience accessible; 95% of the student body receives financial assistance of one kind or another,” says Brand Stille ’86, vice president for enrollment. “The ability to offer competitive scholarships allows us to attract high-caliber students from diverse backgrounds and with a range of experiences.”
That’s more important than ever when considering nationwide projections for declining enrollments. In a 2018 article in Inside Higher Education, Dr. Nathan Grawe, author of “Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education,” predicts as much as a 15% decrease in the number of traditional college applicants by 2026. Colleges in the Midwest and Northeast could see declines exceeding 20%. At the same time, the percentage of students of color and first-generation college students is growing.
“We are aware of the demographic trends and have planned strategically for Wofford’s continued strength and relevance in a changing world,” says Dr. Nayef Samhat, president. “Our 2014 strategic vision resulted in infrastructure improvements and new buildings, endowment growth and additional resources for scholarships, and the expansion of high-impact academic and co-curricular programming. Now we begin envisioning Wofford’s future again, and this time our focus will be on the Vision for Wofford in the World with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“The ability to offer competitive scholarships allows us to attract high-caliber students from diverse backgrounds and with a range of experiences.”
— Brand Stille ’86
- Appointment of six additional faculty of color.
- Back of the College Neighborhood research funding.
- Participation in the Universities Studying Slavery Symposium.
- Appointment of the first academic dean of diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Council of Independent Colleges Legacies of American Slavery campus planning grant.
- AAC&U Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation program (internally funded).
- Search advocate program development.
- Participation in Teach. Equity. Now. to develop inclusive pedagogy.
- Launch of a diversity speakers series.
- Robust heritage month celebrations.
- LGBTQIA Ally Training.
- Participation in the Notre Dame Peace Conference.
- Inaugural Black and Abroad forums.
- Participation in the Interfaith Leadership Institute.
- Expanded scholarship opportunities for first-generation college students.
The next vision considers calls for change from both students and alumni across generations.
“We must take the challenge posed by this national crisis and use it as an opportunity to build an even stronger Wofford for a world that will be very different in the years to come,” wrote Samhat in a message to the Wofford community announcing the new strategic vision process. “In addition to reaffirming and strengthening our existing and new efforts, we must also move in ways that will sustain personal and institutional transformation, so our college truly becomes a diverse, welcoming and inclusive home to all.”
In addition to the plan, the college outlined immediate actions. One of those was the reevaluation and development of new strategies for the recruitment of underrepresented students.
For the past several years, the college has offered the Multicultural Scholarship as a way to enhance the financial aid packages of historically underrepresented applicants. According to Stille, the effort has been moderately successful; of the 67 students offered the scholarship during the 2018-19 recruitment cycle, 18 enrolled. During 2019-20, 14 of 59 accepted. This year, Arsenio Parks ’11, senior assistant director and director of diversity and inclusion for admission, offered a proposal to boost those numbers and the college’s recruitment of diverse populations.
“We must also move in ways that will sustain personal and institutional transformation, so our college truly becomes a diverse, welcoming and inclusive home to all.”
— Nayef Samhat
Wofford for the World Steering Committee:
- DR. CHRISTINE DINKINS, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Philosophy (co-chair)
- DR. RAMÓN GALIÑANES, director of undergraduate research and post-graduate fellowships (co-chair)
- TAIFHA ALEXANDER, assistant dean of students for diversity and leadership
- DR. BEGOÑA CABALLERO, dean of diversity and inclusion, associate professor of Spanish
- CHRIS CARPENTER ’90, trustee
- DYLAN GOSHORN ’22, student representative
- DR. JAMEICA BYARS HILL ’88, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, faculty athletics representative
- JURNEE JONES ’21, student representative
- DR. DAN MATHEWSON, associate provost and associate professor of religion
- GREG O’DELL ’92, trustee
- ARSENIO PARKS ’11, senior assistant director and director of diversity and inclusion for admission
- HON. COSTA PLEICONES ’65, trustee
- REV. DR. RON ROBINSON ’78, Perkins-Prothro Chaplain and Professor of Religion
- DR. TASHA SMITH-TYUS, director of career services
- JAMES STUKES, coordinator for college access and student success
- JOYCE YETTE ’80, trustee
“We’re revamping the scholarship in name and selection process, and we’re going to do a better job of creating an awareness of the opportunity,” says Parks. “Our goal is to attract a more diverse applicant pool and incoming first-year class.”
The $5,000 GOLD (Growing Our Leadership through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Scholarship is designed for incoming first-year students from historically underrepresented populations (African American/Black, Hispanic/ Latino, Alaskan Native or American Indian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or Multiracial). It is stackable and annually renewable.
“Our purpose is to acknowledge students who have exhibited strong academic achievement, leadership in civic engagement and potential to contribute to the Wofford community and beyond,” says Parks. “At Wofford, diversity, equity and inclusion are core values, and we are stronger for our differences.”
“At Wofford, diversity, equity and inclusion are core values, and we are stronger for our differences.”
— Arsenio Parks ’11
How to apply for a GOLD scholarship
- Apply for admission to Wofford by the Early Action deadline (Nov. 15).
- Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to Wofford’s Financial Aid Office.
- Complete the GOLD Scholarship application.
- How have your life experiences and educational pursuits informed your understanding of the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion?
- If you are awarded a GOLD Scholarship, how do you intend to contribute to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Wofford College?
For example, engaging in scholarly discourse, community engagement, research or other creative efforts.
Wofford College Board of Trustees commitment to social justice
As trustees of Wofford College, we acknowledge that our college’s mission of fostering excellence in character, leadership and service to others fundamentally means that Wofford’s mission cannot be executed without equal rights and opportunity and social justice — on Wofford’s campus and everywhere else in the world.
We are committed to investing our time and our resources in ways that will cultivate greater awareness of the damage that racism, bigotry, hatred and the other progeny of inequality and social injustice continue to cause throughout the world. This commitment includes making prevention of this damage an imperative. Fundamentally, this commitment is a call to action to go beyond the work that Wofford has undertaken in the past.
Wofford’s commitment to continuous, diligent and intentional action will enable this board and the college’s faculty, staff and students to lead transformational initiatives that will make our college and each of us examples of how the world can change — for the greater good, for everyone.
Wofford College reaffirmation of core values of diversity, equity and inclusion
At Wofford College, diversity, equity and inclusion are core values, and our community is stronger for our differences. Thus, it is imperative at this time of pain and dissension throughout our country that we recommit ourselves to these values as well as a culture of mutual respect and civil discourse.
Wofford’s mission calls for each of us to make positive contributions to a global society, fostering commitment to excellence in character, performance, leadership, service to others and lifelong learning. Let us use this moment to respond to current events as our mission instructs us. Listen to the concerns and frustrations of our neighbors. Develop the courage to speak against racism, bigotry and hate. Engage with respect, civility and empathy.
The past several months have revealed much about our nation and world. And while we look forward to returning to some kind of normal after this pandemic, the lives of those who have been killed or wrongfully accused, the families who continue to seek justice and the communities that continue to suffer remind us that we collectively have a responsibility to pursue a normal that reflects the values of our nation: justice, liberty and equality for all.
Let us strive together to achieve these ends, for we must not tolerate anything less as a nation and world.
By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89