Friday, May 9, 2008

Graduating senior earns prestigious Duke grant

Caroline Fairchild named Robertson Scholar at Duke

Express Staff Writer

Community School graduating senior Caroline Fairchild plans to attend Duke University in North Carolina in the fall, but she'll be doing it in an unusual manner.

Fairchild is one of a handful of U.S. scholars selected in a rigorous process for the Robertson Scholars Program at Duke University. She will receive a full four-year scholarship covering tuition, room and board at Duke University.

"It's a huge honor," said Caroline's mother, Maureen Walsh, of Ketchum. "She is the first student in the state of Idaho to receive this award."

Fairchild has high academic honors at The Community School, including a grade point average in the 4.25 range and college boards in the mid-1,600s, said her mother.

She was one of 21,000 students who applied for the Robertson Scholars grants at Duke.

Fifty-three exemplary high school seniors were chosen for the Robertson Scholars Class of 2012, President Richard H. Brodhead of Duke University and Chancellor James Moeser of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced April 7 on a Web site.

The Robertson Scholars Program is an innovative merit scholarship program at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke. About half of the scholars enroll at Duke and half at UNC-Chapel Hill. All the students take courses at both schools and spend a semester in residence at the other campus.

The Robertson Scholarship at UNC-Chapel Hill covers tuition, room, board, mandatory fees and a stipend. Beginning this year, the Robertson Scholarship at Duke, which previously covered tuition, now also covers housing, board and mandatory fees for all current and future scholars.

The program selects scholars who have demonstrated the program values of heart, mind and action and exhibit the potential and desire to develop those values further, said Tony Brown, president of the Robertson Scholars Program.

Throughout and beyond their four years in college, scholars are offered the resources and opportunities necessary to have a positive impact on local and international communities.

Twenty-six students were awarded the scholarship at Duke, 24 at UNC-Chapel Hill and three at both schools. After a selection process that included application review and phone interviews, committees at both universities invited 100 finalists to Durham and Chapel Hill for interviews March 29-April 1. Winners were announced April 7.

The two universities expect to enroll 38 Robertson Scholars next fall. Recipients were chosen from more than 20,000 applicants at UNC-Chapel Hill and more than 20,000 at Duke.

"The Robertson Scholars are selected from among the very best students who apply to Duke and UNC," Brodhead said. "They are chosen not just for their intelligence and creativity, but for their leadership strengths and will to use their gifts in service to the broader society."

Julian and Josie Robertson of New York founded the Robertson program in June 2000 with a $24 million endowment gift.

Caroline's brother, 2004 Community School graduate Jimmy Fairchild, will graduate May 18 from the University of Notre Dame and plans to attend law school. Both Caroline and Jimmy played basketball for the Cutthroats in Sun Valley.

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