FLORENCE----Three Francis Marion University students have been named inaugural Gates Millennium Scholars for the 2000-2001 academic year, each receiving awards in excess of $3,000.
They are Kindle V. Johnson, a senior from Georgetown; Lakeya M. Hassell, a sophomore from Charleston; and David L. Brown, a sophomore from Cassatt.
The $1 billion scholarship program is the largest in higher education.
Established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the scholarships were awarded to 4,000 minority students, representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Bill Gates is the chairman of Microsoft Corp.
The program, administered by the United Negro College Fund and partners, is aimed at expanding access and opportunity to higher education to those citizens who will help reflect a diverse society. More than 20,000 students are expected to receive the scholarship over the next 20 years.
Recipients must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale and have demonstrated leadership ability through participation in community service, extracurricular activities or other activities.
The Gates Millennium Scholar program amounts to an unprecedented, large-scale experiment to test an increasingly popular theory: that the best way to identify minority students most likely to succeed in college is to replace standardized tests, grade point averages and class rank with a system of non-traditional criteria and noncognitive variables. They include a pattern of community service, demonstrable leadership skills, the ability to cope with racism, and other hard-to-quantify characteristics.
Individuals selected as Gates Millennium Scholars receive funds for the cost of tuition, fees, books and living expenses for the 2000-2001 academic year calculated in an amount based on financial need.
The FMU students were chosen from more than 44,000 applicants nationwide. Recommended by FMU professors, each student had to submit an essay, a personal information form and a third-party letter of recommendation.
Johnson is the daughter of Kathy Brooks and Charles Johnson of West Palm Beach, Fla. She is a graduate of Palm Beach Lakes High School and transferred to Francis Marion from Clark Atlanta University where she was a member of the Gospel Choir, the Pre-Med Society and served as an HIV awareness counselor.
At FMU, she is a member of the Honors Program, serves as a residence hall adviser, volunteers as a tutor in English and math, and is a member of the Sociology Club. She works at Ark Animal Hospital in Surfside Beach and is active in the NOAH program.
Hassell is the daughter of Alfred and Gwendolyn Hassell of Charleston. She is a 1999 graduate of James Island High School where she was a member of the marching band, concert band and Teacher Cadet program. She also did volunteer work at the Medical University of South Carolina hospital. At FMU, Hassell is a dean’s list student as a pre-nursing major.
Brown is the son of David and Bettye Brogdon of Cassatt. He is a 1999 honors graduate of Camden High where he participated in the Technology Club and was a member of the Kershaw County Student-To-Work Advisory Council. He is a member of the Concerned Adults Saving Youth organization in Camden.
At FMU, Brown is a member of the Math Club and serves as a student tutor. A dean’s list and president’s list student, he is a pre-engineering major and plans to transfer to Georgia Tech or Clemson to pursue an engineering degree.