Future Reflections January- February 1984, Vol. 3 No. 1

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Reprinted from the November, 1983 BRAILLE MONITOR

In the October, 1983, issue of the Monitor we carried preliminary information concerning our expanded scholarship program. Now, plans have been finalized, and we are ready to go full speed ahead. As we stated in the October issue, the Scholarship Committee is being expanded and reorganized. The Committee for 1983-84 (their terms expire at the end of the 1984 Convention) consist of the following thirteen people: Peggy Pinder, Iowa, Chairman; Sharon Gold, California; Homer Page, Colorado; Gary Mackenstadt, Washington; Fred Schroeder, New Mexico; John Halverson, District of Columbia; Barbara Pierce, Ohio; Joanne Fernandes, Louisiana; Charles Brown, Virginia; Allen Harris, Michigan; Jim Hudson, Arkansas; Priscilla Ferris, Massachusetts; and Steve Benson, Illinois.

Our Scholarship Application Form (copy reproduced at the end of this article) consists of a single legal-sized page with printing on both sides. We are making an initial printing of twenty thousand of these forms. They will be sent to every college and university in the country, every agency doing work with the blind, every Congressional office, every state president, and every member of the Scholarship Committee. They will also be sent to anyone requesting them. They are worthwhile scholarships, and they can be of real assistance to blind students. Information about our scholarship program should be disseminated as widely as possible. The following information is contained on the scholarship form:


Each year the National Federation of the Blind offers a broad array of scholarships. These scholarships are bestowed at the Federation's Annual Convention in early July and are given to blind persons pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time post secondary course of training or study. We are currently offering the following:

1. Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship. This scholarship in the amount of $2,500.00 this year is awarded annually. Only students in certain fields of study are eligible because the donor of the scholarship wanted to encourage the blind to enter those fields. The scholarship was established by Thomas E. Rickard in honor of his father, Howard Brown Rickard. Any legally blind university student in the professions of law, medicine, engineering, architecture, or the natural sciences, including undergraduates in these fields, is eligible to apply.

2. Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarships. Two of these scholarships (each in the amount of $2,500.00 this year) are awarded annually. Dr. Isabelle Grant established the Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarships in memory of her daughter. These scholarships are awarded to blind female students for education at the college level.

3. Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship (amount not yet determined this year, but not less than $1,200.00) is given annually. This scholarship is given in memory of Melva T. Owen, who was widely known and loved among the blind. She and her husband Charles Owen became acquainted with increasing numbers of blind people through their work in the "Voicepondence" Club. In the words of Charles Owen, "There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed towards attaining financial independence, and shall exclude religion and those seeking only to further their general or cultural education."

4. National Federation of the Blind Merit Scholarships. Eight of these scholarships (each in the amount of $2,500.00) will be given this year. Applicants for these scholarships must be studying (or planning to study) at the post-secondary level. There is no restriction as to sex, graduate or undergraduate level, or field of study.

Criteria. Federation scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, service to the community, and financial need.

Membership. The National Federation of the Blind is an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for all blind persons. In furtherance of this goal, we have established our scholarship program. Recipients of Federation scholarships need not be members of the National Federation of the Blind.

Deadline. Applications for National Federation of the Blind scholarships must be submitted by March 31 of the year in which the scholarship is to be awarded. Applications for scholarships will be accepted from July 1 through March 31 for scholarships to be awarded in July.

Making Application. To apply for National Federation of the Blind scholarships, complete and return the application on the reverse side of this sheet. Multiple applications are unnecessary. The Scholarship Committee will consider each applicant as a candidate for all scholarships for which he or she qualifies. Please provide all the information requested where applicable to you. Please attach to your application all the additional documents requested on the application. Send the completed application and attachments to:

Miss Peggy Pinder, Chairman
National Federation of the Blind
Scholarship Committee
1005 Nebraska Street
Sioux City, Iowa 51105

Reapplication. In the past we have often awarded scholarships to persons who were applying for the second or third time. Applicants must re-submit their applications each year by March 31 to be considered for scholarships to be awarded in July. Persons who have previously applied and who have not been granted scholarships are encouraged to apply again.

Finalists. Each year our Scholarship Committee reviews all applications and selects the top candidates as finalists. These finalists (usually about twice as many as there are scholarships to award) will be notified of their selection by June 1 and will be brought to the National Federation of the Blind Convention in July. Regardless of whether a candidate becomes a scholarship recipient, it is, of course, an honor to be chosen as a finalist. Financial assistance to attend the Convention may be provided to those finalists who need and request it. This is in addition to the scholarship grants.

The Convention is the largest gathering of blind persons (more than 2,000) to occur anywhere in the nation each year. You will be able to meet with other blind students and exchange information and ideas, and you will also be able to meet and talk with blind people who are successfully functioning in your chosen profession or occupation. Federal officials, Congressmen, and Senators, and the makers and distributors of new technology attend Federation Conventions. Above all, a broad cross section of the most active segment of the blind population of the United States will be present to discuss common problems, exchange information and ideas, and plan for concerted action. It is an interesting and exciting week.

Awards. The day before the Convention Banquet the Scholarship Committee will meet to select from the finalists the scholarship recipients. The scholarship awards will be made during the banquet.

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