NU awards first two full-ride President’s Scholarships

12 de Marzo de 2024 a las 16:00 ·

Lillias McKillip signs to NU President's Scholarship
Lillias McKillip was the second high school senior to commit to a University of Nebraska school under the President's Scholarship program. NU Interim President Chris Kabourek poses with her for a picture at her signing day. (Photo courtesy University of Nebraska)

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Two Nebraska high school seniors — one in Pender and one in Lincoln — committed to a University of Nebraska school under the new Presidential Scholars program.

The scholarship gives a full-ride plus a $5,000 stipend to a University of Nebraska school for any in-state students who score a 36 on the ACT. The university announced the program last month.

Lillias McKillip is a senior at Lincoln Southeast High School. She had a full-ride offer to the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma that she was considering to avoid loans. Then, the President’s Scholarship was created.

“I knew as soon as I saw it that I would go to (the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) because UNL had always been the school I wanted to go to,” McKillip said.

NU Interim President Chris Kabourek said McKillip’s story is an example of what the Presidential Scholars program was created to do — keep some of the best academic students in the state for college.

“I hope everybody gets a chance to meet these young people,” he said. “They’re just outstanding students, high character. They’re exactly the kind of kids we need to keep in Nebraska, and we’re so proud that they’re going to continue their studies right here at the University of Nebraska.”

Both students had signing ceremonies similar to students who commit for an athletics program. The first student to sign, Caleb Kelly, was a senior from Pender. Kabourek said he signed in front of the whole school.

“I've been at the university 27 years, and it was one of the most personally satisfying days of my career,” Kabourek said.

McKillip had a more private ceremony with her family, Lincoln Southeast faculty, university officials and the governor. McKillip said getting to stay close to the people she loves is a big plus with the scholarship.

“I'm really happy to be able to stay close to my family and close to my church and be able to stay connected with a lot of the same people that I've known my whole life,” she said.

McKillip plans to double major in elementary education and Spanish. Kelly, the other recipient, plans to study computer science and physics at UNL.