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Students Merit Full-Tuition Scholarships

The University of St. Thomas is committed to providing an accessible and affordable private, liberal arts education to all students.  The University not only increased financial aid available to all eligible students by 21 percent for the 2011-2012 academic year, UST also awarded eight full-tuition scholarships to top incoming freshmen.

These scholarships include five Vincent J. Guinan Presidential Full-Tuition Scholarship, seven Peggy and Bill Shiffick scholarships and one Newman Circle Scholarship.

“In addition to the Guinan Scholarship that we give to our top students every year, thanks to additional scholarship funding and contributions from donors, we have been able to extend this opportunity and recognition of academic excellence to even more students this year,” said Arthur Ortiz, director of freshman admissions.

This year’s awardees are Sarah Ashour, Amanda Bohl, Elizabeth Kuncewicz, Holly Merta, Marissa Pierotti, Paul Roewe, Martha Hudson and Maire Kelley.
The Guinan scholarship is named after Father Vincent J. Guinan, who led the Basilian fathers in establishing the University and served as the founding president.  To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be Catholic, meet specific academic requirements, submit a 500-word essay and recommendation letter from a high school principal or guidance counselor. The top 15 finalists must also complete an on-campus interview with the selection committee. The recipients are required to join UST’s Presidential Ambassadors and be active in Campus Ministry.

The Peggy and Bill Shiffick Endowed Scholarship was created by the late Bill Shiffick, a former member of the board of directors, in honor of his wife, Peggy. Both Peggy and Bill were involved with UST for many years and shared a deep commitment to education. The scholarship covers full tuition plus room and board and is awarded to highest rated students meeting academic and financial need requirements.

The Newman Circle Scholarship was established by the Newman Circle, Houston’s oldest Catholic women’s organization. Since the University was founded, the Newman Circle has provided a yearly scholarship in various amounts to women attending UST.  The Newman Circle Scholarship covers full tuition and is awarded to a female student meeting the academic and financial requirements.

“This group of students is not only elite academically, they stood out during the rigorous and competitive scholarship interview process. These students demonstrated the ability to think critically and express themselves with great poise,” Ortiz said.

Read why these top-notch students chose UST:

Sarah Ashour, a home-schooler from Grand Prairie:

“St. Thomas has a reputation for providing a high quality education, and UST was a really good fit with my personality,” Ashour said. “There are six children in my family. Without the full-tuition scholarship, it would be so much more difficult to pay for St. Thomas. I’m so grateful that the school recognized my potential and generously invested in my education.”  

Amanda Bohl, a graduate of McDonnell Central High School, Chippewa Falls, Wis.:

“I have a friend whose two sisters came from Wisconsin to go to St. Thomas and they have had a really positive experience,” Bohl said. “When I visited UST, I loved the campus and I was impressed at the strong level of academics. I have been in Catholic schools my entire life, and I look forward to learning even more about my faith.”

Maire Kelley, valedictorian of Incarnate Word Academy in Houston:

“I really liked the intensity of the academics at St. Thomas. I was offered a full-tuition scholarship at another university, but I chose St. Thomas because I was really attracted to the Cooperative Engineering Program. I think I will get more support at a smaller school while I am learning the math and science foundations for a future career in engineering.”

Holly Merta, a graduate of Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg:

“I plan on majoring in biology on the pre-med track and St. Thomas has an impressive biology program and amazing research opportunities for undergraduates,” Merta said. “The full-tuition scholarship is such a blessing for me and my family. I thanked God and my patron saint of neurological disorders. I have epilepsy and there is still so little known about the brain and neurological disorders. That’s why I want to become a doctor.”

Marissa Pierotti, a graduate of Mother of Divine Grace Home-school in Paris, Texas:

“I initially found out about St. Thomas because it is listed among the Newman Guide to Choosing Catholic Colleges. Once I visited the campus, I was impressed by the professors and students I met. The quality of academics is remarkable, and there is a strong network of homeschoolers already at UST.”

Paul Roewe, a home-schooler from Houston:

“St. Thomas was my first choice, so I still would have attended if I didn’t get the full-tuition scholarship.  The scholarship covers tuition, room, board and books, so my family and I are ecstatic; it’s a significant relief. I want to major in English and philosophy, so I really like the Catholic, liberal arts foundation of the University. St. Thomas is very receptive to home-schoolers, so I know I will have a lot of support and will do well there.”

Shown at top: Maire Kelley