Bright students around the world benefit from our scholarships

Among the ups and downs in life, a favorite project of mine that keeps me perking is the Mensa Foundation Scholarship Program. Serving as the liaison from the Foundation Board to the program has been a joyful challenge. The dedication of the 400 to 500 volunteers who serve as judges and chairs at the local, regional, national and international level are definitely the backbone of the program and make me very proud to be a Mensa member. Thank-you notes we receive from various students who have won a scholarship are very meaningful because they affirm that all of the work makes a difference.

Funds from Mensa International enabled an expansion of the program this year, making scholarships available to Mensa members internationally who are studying at an accredited educational institution. For the inaugural year, Vicki Herd of Mensa Canada oversaw the judging, which yielded a $2,000 scholarship for Andrea Luppi of Mensa Italy and $1,000 each to Katherine Vrantsidis of Mensa Canada, Matej Kianicka of Mensa Slovakia and Steve Walden of British Mensa.

We received 27 applications from 14 countries, including Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. Vicki’s team of eight Mensa judges hail from Bangladesh, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Serbia and South Africa. In addition, there were 25 applicants for the $1,000 Ed Vincent International Scholarship, which was awarded to Marcelin Da Cruz of Mensa France.

The dedication of the 400 to 500 volunteers who serve as judges and chairs at the local, regional, national and international level are definitely the backbone of the program and make me very proud to be a Mensa member.

Back home in the American Mensa component of the scholarship program, we received 8,010 applications, which gives you an idea of how important our volunteers are and why we’re so grateful for them. More than 90 percent of those applicants came from participating local groups and just less than 10 percent from non-participating group areas. As you can see, American Mensa’s local groups are key Foundation partners in ensuring this program continues.

As we wrap up this year, 188 grateful students will receive scholarship money thanks to the donors and local groups who contributed funds to sustain and increase scholarship awards. For next year, the Foundation will add some additional scholarships. More information on those will be available once agreements are finalized.

One more change is coming. Mensa Foundation Trustee Jane Hanson will be the scholarship liaison this next program year. I’m not going away, just gradually moving backstage to prepare for new opportunities with the Mensa Foundation. I realize that passing on the torch for an area I’ve nurtured and come to love is a good thing. Jane will bring fresh ideas and energy to this well-established program.

As I’ve been going through files, I came across some background on donors who funded some special scholarships. Here’s what I learned about one of them.

Rosemary Greathouse is the person behind the Rosemary Greathouse Scholarship, a $600 national scholarship for a student pursuing a degree in the arts, including creative writing and journalism. It was first awarded in 2006. Rosemary earned a bachelor’s in communications from the University of Maryland in 1952. She was a member of Pi Delta Epsilon (a journalism society) and two national honor societies. In 1972, she moved to San Diego where she taught, edited, researched and wrote. At her death in 2003, she was a Life Member of Mensa who bequeathed a donation that funded the endowed Foundation scholarship named for her.

One other tidbit I found fascinating: Rosemary was also a member of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) and had been a co-founder of a regional group as well as a judge for more than 50 AACA shows. She was truly a Mensan with diverse interests.

I have more stories, but I see I’ve reached the end of this page. Wrapping up, thanks to all of you who helped your Foundation with another successful Scholarship Program. For more details plus a list of award winners, visit our scholarships page.