A year ago, 10 Dougherty Family College (DFC) students received the first-ever Excellence Scholarships to fully fund their tuition to continue toward four-year degrees at St. Thomas. This year, they’ll be joined by 19 more peers from DFC.

St. Thomas announced the second group of students who have earned the scholarships specifically for students with a 3.0 after three semesters at DFC, a strong recommendation from faculty and excellent written essay.

“It’s huge,” said Anisa Ali, an Excellence Scholar who will be studying social work at St. Thomas. “I had to take time to fully absorb that information. I celebrated with my family; everyone was happy. I appreciate the people that put their money and funding and energy into me, individually, but everyone else who got it. It makes a huge difference.”

“I was overwhelmed with happiness. It gave me so much determination to finish the semester strong. It’s a huge blessing to me,” said Mickey Tesfay, another Excellence Scholar. “I’ve made big academic strides here [at DFC]. Hearing that it’s paid off, and I can get funding to pursue another degree, is amazing.”

DFC saw a new high in qualified students and applicants for the scholarships; Dean Alvin Abraham said knowledge gained from last year helped expand the reach of this year’s support to even more students.

“For many of our students the biggest barrier to starting and finishing college is cost, so to be able to remove that completely as a factor and allow students to focus on academics and enjoy being a student, be engaged and involved, is incredible,” said Abraham, adding that several DFC students have also been hired as residence hall advisers, meaning their room and board costs will be taken care of, as well. “It’s life changing to stay at St. Thomas and continue their studies. They’re indoctrinated into our world and understand the personal touch and connection faculty have at St. Thomas that we’re so known for. They’re Tommies. Because they’re able to continue on and finish their four-year degree, they can continue that without much of a gap in their knowledge of the community, the campus and resources available.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Jorge Monfil
  • Makda (Mickey) Tesfay
  • Anisa Ali
  • Gadiel Castillo
  • Fatuma Mohamed
  • Nancy Sanchez
  • Albert Montano Cruz
  • Araceli Gomez
  • Kaitlin Anthony
  • Rahmo Abdullahi
  • Habtamu Lajebo
  • Nasteho Yasin
  • Kong Xiong
  • Christopher Nguyen
  • Bertha (Bea) Valencia Martinez
  • Suad Nur
  • Adrian Subryan
  • Hannah Ibrahim
  • Jasmin Sanchez

All DFC students who earn a 3.0 or higher grade-point average have the opportunity to pursue their bachelor’s degree at St. Thomas with an enhanced financial aid package, part of the university’s overall efforts amidst a $200 million campaign to increase scholarships and affordability for all students.

The scholarships were possible through the generous donations of the Ryan/Sterbenz Estate and Gene and Mary Frey.

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