Lombardi / Stamps Scholars Reception

Reception for the new Lombardi and Stamps Scholars

            A reception was held Sept. 14 to formally introduce the Class of 2020 Lombardi and Stamps Scholars to the returning scholars, in the University Gallery on the UF campus.

            Each year, 11 students are named to the prestigious Lombardi Scholars and Stamps Scholars programs following a rigorous application and two-step interview process. All of the students are members of the Honors Program at UF and receive a four-year scholarship.

The reception provided the opportunity for many of the current scholars to meet the new class for first time, but some had met before.

“The really cool part is that we got to interact with some of them before today during the interview process,” said Gillian Mangan, a sophomore in the program. “Seeing the people we carried throughout the whole process make it all the way is really neat.”

A big part of being a scholar is having the opportunity to participate in enrichment experiences each summer. The new scholars spent five weeks in Merida, Mexico before beginning their studies at UF.

They took Spanish classes, learned about tropical ecology and spent weekends going on excursions. During their formal introductions, each new scholar spoke about their favorite experiences of the summer.

As they went down the line, a common theme appeared. Almost every account mentioned how close the group had grown in such a short period of time.

“When we walked in, all the scholars were talking about how close our class is,” said Thomas Carbone, a scholar from the freshman class. “We are already best friends.”

Through banana boat rides and ecology classes, these students conquered their fears and created friendships.

The feeling of family is not restricted to within the individual classes, but is seen among them as well. The stories about scary new foods and exciting bus rides stirred laughs from the older scholars as they relived their own memories of their first trip.

“It’s kind of weird for me because this is my fourth year,” said Alex Sargent, a member of the senior class. “They are where I was three years ago.”

The first trip students go on with the program is just with their cohort, but the following study abroad trips are taken with the classes both above and below. These similar experiences and summer travels are what unite all of the scholars, regardless of age.

“We know that we will eventually go our separate ways, but we will always have the places we went and the things we did together,” Sargent said.

After all of the introductions, Dr. Mark Brenner, the professor who directs the UF in Merida Program, which is open to all students, stood up to speak about the summer and the scholars. He said he wanted to thank the selection committee for bringing in more amazing students year after year.

“I’ve enjoyed every one of them,” Brenner said.

The application for the Class of 2021 Lombardi & Stamps Scholarships is now available on the Honors web site.

 September 17, Kalynna Thompson