University sees huge boom in merit scholars

Tracy Deutmeyer

The time to shine is tonight for more than 100 students at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Scholar Night.

And while they’re shining, they’re also breaking records.

This year the LAS Scholars are made up of 67 National Merit Scholars — more than triple the number of scholars that entered LAS last fall.

“This is a record over the entire university. This fall, 154 freshman who earned National Merit Scholarships entered Iowa State. Last year there were 54 scholars who enrolled at Iowa State,” said Anne Ahrens, director of special recruitment programs.

“This puts us in the top five percent of public universities in the United States for number of National Merit Scholars,” said Elizabeth Hoffman, dean of the College of LAS.

The University of Iowa this fall had 22 National Merit Scholars enrolled.

“The university has pushed to raise more private funds for scholarships for National Merit and National Achievement scholars. We can offer more scholarship dollars and that makes for a better package for the students,” said John Anderson, interim director of university relations.

“We have made it a priority in recruitment to actively seek National Merit scholars and I think the results are very positive,” Anderson said.

He said the university is pushing for a step up in all recruitment efforts, including students who are leaders and students who have special needs.

Dean Hoffman will host the LAS Scholars Night that begins at 6:30 p.m. at Catt Hall. Steffen Schmidt, “Dr. Politics,” will speak about the 1996 elections at 7 p.m.

“We want to introduce these students to our very best faculty. And we asked our faculty to give the most challenging and interesting speeches to these students,” Hoffman said.

Other LAS Scholars include Hixson Scholarship winners, Legacy of Heroines Scholarship winners and LAS departmental scholars.