More than 40 of the nation’s top high school seniors got to know The University of Texas a little better this weekend at the annual Forty Acres Scholars Program Finalists Weekend.
From visits to UT’s schools and colleges to an amphibious Austin Duck tour, the 41 finalists for UT’s most elite full-ride merit scholarship got a thorough picture of what their life at UT and in Austin could look like. During three days on campus, they were given special access to all the University has to offer. UT president Bill Powers stopped by during their private tour of the Tower, and football legend Vince Young even made a surprise appearance.
Forty Acres Scholars Program associate director Kristy Kimball says that the weekend had something for everyone. “They had the option to tour the new Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletics Center or the Bass Concert Hall,” she says. “We wanted to show them not just academics, but also the fun side of UT.”
The finalists also enjoyed dinner with alumni, faculty, and staff, plus plenty of down time with current scholars. At Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the Jumbotron was even lit up with a welcome message just for them.
The weekend ended with the interviews that helped select the next class of scholarship recipients. Kimball says the scholarship team worked hard to make sure the finalists felt at ease.
By May 1, the next class of recipients will be selected. Kimball is in the process of notifying the recipients by phone. “Many of the students I’ve called accepted on the spot,” she says. “Getting to deliver that news makes me feel proud of the job I get to do.”
The finalists who don’t receive the scholarship aren’t left out in the cold. According to Kimball, the Texas Exes scholarship team makes every effort to find at least some financial assistance for all the finalists. “It’s not a guarantee, but we do our best to support them all,” Kimball says. “These are all extremely talented students, and our goal is for all 41 of them to attend UT.”
Forty Acres Scholars Program finalists pose with Bevo at the Alumni Center. Photo by Andrew Miller.