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Four UW-Eau Claire freshmen named National Merit Scholars

August 24, 2012

EAU CLAIRE — Four of the approximately 2,075 new freshmen enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire this fall have been named National Merit Scholars.

Sydney Alexander, Eau Claire; Elijah Freeman, Ladysmith; Andrew Ludewig, Andover, Minn.; and Stephen Poynter, Eau Claire, have been awarded the prestigious honor. They will bring the total number of National Merit Scholars attending UW-Eau Claire this fall to 21.

UW-Eau Claire is one of the few schools in the UW System that officially participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program. About 200 higher education institutions in the nation offer college-sponsored scholarships through the program.

UW-Eau Claire’s National Merit Scholars will receive $5,000, renewable for four years with a 3.0 GPA, from the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

High school students qualify for the scholarship competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. Last September approximately 16,000 semifinalists were named. Those students were then invited to submit a detailed scholarship application.

Some 15,000 semifinalists are advanced to finalist standing, and approximately 8,300 are then named award recipients.

UW-Eau Claire has participated in the program since 1982 and averages from three to eight college-sponsored Merit Scholar awards each year.

UW-Eau Claire's success in consistently attracting top students can be attributed to the university's strong academic reputation, the personalized attention students receive from faculty and the meaningful learning experiences available, said admissions counselor Danielle Widmer.

"There are many opportunities for students to gain real-life experience through UW-Eau Claire’s outstanding study abroad programs, service-learning and faculty-student collaborative research," Widmer said. "Combine that with our brand-new student union, our top-tier University Honors Program and our affordability, and it adds up to a university that is extremely attractive to top students."

National Merit Scholars automatically qualify for the University Honors Program, which challenges exceptionally able students to perform at the highest level of which they are capable, enhances their capacity for critical inquiry and independent learning, and develops their potential for leadership.

For more information about the National Merit Scholars attending UW-Eau Claire, contact Danielle Widmer at 715-836-5409 or



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