In the beginning, there were only 10—a handful of incoming students chosen for their academic excellence and demonstrated leadership to receive full scholarships from Transylvania’s merit-based scholarship program, the first of its kind in Kentucky and an anomaly throughout the nation.
“Being part of the first group was
unique in a few ways as there was no precedent,” said Vince Tanamachi ’86, a
graduate of the University of Louisville medical school and a physician with
Norton Healthcare in Louisville. “We were scrutinized a little more by other
students who were trying to figure us out, and professors also were perhaps
expecting more from our group, which was natural. Regardless, being a (Thomas
Jefferson Scholar) was an advantage in many ways, and any pressure or scrutiny
were certainly worth the experience.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the graduation of Tanamachi and the other scholars from the initial group, who though small in number, had a noticeable impact on campus. “Students who had come to Transylvania before the scholarship program began, who just missed it, wanted to prove that they were as good as or better than the recipients,” recalls history professor emeritus Paul Fuller. “I found that created a friendly competition that was good for one’s classes. It encouraged everyone to do a better job—the students first and most importantly, but also the professors.”
Transylvania University admits students regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, national origin, or any other classification protected by federal or state law or local ordinance.