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Luncheon celebrates graduating class of Outstanding Scholars

The money wasn’t what drove Ashley Keefner into the Outstanding Scholars program. Instead, says the fourth-year arts and science student, it was the opportunity to work closely with faculty members.

Her inter-faculty program allowed her to work on research projects with physics professor William Baylis and philosophy professor Marcello Guarini. The experience inspired her to pursue graduate study in related fields following her June graduation.

“I liked getting exposure to the sort of work the professors do,” Keefner says. “It was the best part of being an outstanding scholar.”

The program provides high-achieving undergraduate students with scholarships and access to professional training and mentorship. Keefner was one of the members completing their degrees this year fêted at a luncheon in their honour Wednesday.

Coordinator Barbara Niewitecka said the students appreciated the gesture.

“They like to be together, to develop a sense of connection,” she said. “The social part of the program is valuable too.”

Gyllian Porteous and Jessica Smith developed a connection. The two, also graduating from the arts and sciences program, are planning a five-week tour of Italy together this summer to celebrate their graduations.

Provost Leo Groarke announced earlier this year that the Outstanding Scholars program will expand beyond a limited number of disciplines to encompass new enrolees in every first-entry academic program.

“The program is Windsor's premiere student engagement program for high-achieving undergraduates, providing UWindsor students with opportunities that are not available at other universities,” Dr. Groarke said. “Expanding it will will allow us to make it a program that defines us across the institution, highlighting the quality of the undergraduate education available at the University of Windsor. We hope that these changes will provide more of our students with truly exceptional preparation for further study after they graduate.”

The change will become effective in September 2013, said vice-provost, students and international, Clayton Smith. He says he has wanted to find broader application of the Outstanding Scholars program since first coming to Windsor.

“Because of the success of the program, we felt a need for all disciplines to participate,” he said.

Learn more on the program’s Web site.