Mesa, Arizona ~ Two Westwood High School students who plan to attend Benedictine University at Mesa this fall were recently awarded Mesa Educate U scholarships.
Francisco Reyes, a first-generation college student, received a $10,000 annual scholarship to attend Benedictine. He also received $1,000 from the American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship and Nina Johnston and Shirley Lesar Westwood Warrior Achievement Award and was accepted to the Jo Wilson Leadership Program – a collaboration between the University and high schools in Mesa that allows a select group of 15-20 incoming freshmen to participate in a specialized pilot training program customized and personalized for each student based upon their career interests.
Reyes, a high school standout, plans to major in Management and Organizational Behavior at Benedictine. He was involved in student council, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) – a college readiness program – and the Hispanic Youth Institute.
Lesly Herrera is also a first-generation college student and recipient of a $10,000 annual scholarship to attend Benedictine. She was accepted to the Jo Wilson Leadership Program as well. Additionally, she received a $1,000 Mahnah Club Scholarship.
Herrera, who plans to major in Psychology at Benedictine, has been involved in Westwood’s varsity tennis and badminton teams, Health Education for Kids – an Arizona-wide program where high school students teach children age 6-11 about health education, the National Honor Society, AVID, Relay for Life, the Foreign Club and Achieving a College Education, a Mesa Community College scholarship program designed to improve access to higher education for underrepresented high school students and provide preparation that can help improve their success once enrolled in college.
Mesa Educates U is a City of Mesa initiative founded by Mesa Mayor Scott Smith to bring higher education to downtown Mesa. This program helped lead to the Benedictine University at Mesa branch campus – the first Catholic university campus in Arizona. Requirements for a Mesa Educate U Scholarship include Mesa residency, demonstrating strong academic performance and having a strong financial need.
“I was honored to be invited to Westwood High School’s awards assembly to present both our Educate U scholarships and the leadership recipients,” said Jo Wilson, senior administrator and special assistant to the executive vice president for Benedictine University at Mesa. “We are very fortunate to have these two young people coming to Benedictine. I am so proud of the two students and excited to have them in our first class,” Wilson said.
Benedictine University is one of the fastest-growing colleges in the country and provides students individual attention – academic advising, faculty availability, career counseling – that helps students to defy limitations and enjoy a successful college experience.
The University is still accepting applications for classes beginning in September.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.