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Guidance for Application

The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership offers scholarships to undergraduate students at each of the University of Wisconsin System’s four-year campuses. Scholarships are intended for undergraduates who have shown public leadership in their lives in a way that reflects the general legacy of Governor Tommy G. Thompson. Governor Thompson was a broad thinker who offered common sense solutions to tackle big problems through teamwork and an unending zeal to make our state a better place. We seek high quality applicants who reflect Tommy’s spirit, have demonstrated leadership during their time in college, and will continue to lead in the future

Amount of Award

One scholarship award of $3,000 to one student at each of the thirteen University of Wisconsin System campuses per academic year.  The Center will provide funding to the System universities who will, in turn, distribute the awards through their Financial Aid Offices as part of financial aid packages.

If an awarded student does not carry any financial obligations to the University equivalent to the size of the award, the campuses customarily provide a check to the awarded student of the difference to cover future education/living expenses. 

Eligibility Criteria/Conditions of Award

To be eligible for this award, a student must:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time student at a four-year University of Wisconsin System campus at the time of application and at the time s/he receives the award;
  • Be in good academic standing at the time of application;
  • Be a degree-seeking student at the time of application and at the time s/he receives the award;
  • Have not received the Tommy G. Thompson Scholarship in a prior year. (The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable, and non-transferable);
  • Submit his or her cumulative undergraduate GPA from the undergraduate campus from which he or she is applying (This means that students without a cumulative GPA [e.g., freshmen] are ineligible); and
  • Agree to attend one Thompson Center event during the year of scholarship.

 Additionally, to be eligible for this award, a student must:

  • Submit a personal statement/biographical sketch that is no more than 450 words. (The personal statement/biographical sketch may be posted on the Thompson Center website and used in press releases if the candidate is selected for a scholarship.)  The biographical sketch must include:
  • The candidate’s definition or understanding of leadership;
  • A discussion of how the candidate demonstrated leadership during his or her time on campus;
  • The candidate’s aspirations; and
  • An explanation of the ways in which the candidate’s leadership reflects Governor Thompson’s spirit and legacy of bringing people together to develop common sense solutions.
  • The candidate may wish to include within this statement a brief description of any relevant volunteering, internships, or employment they have undertaken that reflect a spirit of leadership.
  • Provide a copy of his or her up-to-date academic transcript, which thereby grants permission to the review panel(s) to consider it as part of the scholarship application.  The student may include a brief appendix that summarizes any classes that relate to leadership or the personal statement/biographical sketch.

Application Review & Award Process

Each of the thirteen four-year University of Wisconsin System campuses will conduct its own initial review of candidate applications and will nominate three applicants as finalists from each campus to a Thompson Center Review Board.  That Review Board will be composed of the full Faculty Advisory Committee or its designated subcommittee. The Review Board will forward its recommendations to the Center’s Public Leadership Board for final approval.

The Center will select one scholarship recipient from each of the thirteen four-year University of Wisconsin System campuses.  In the event that a university does not submit three finalists, the Center will select additional recipients from the remaining pool of other campuses’ finalists.

Deadline for Applications

Submit completed application materials in-person to Blugold Central by December 1. Emailed applications will not be accepted.

Permission/Confidentiality Waiver

To be considered, each applicant grants permission to their campus to share application, transcripts, eligibility and other relevant information with the applicant’s UW System Campus Review Panel and the UW-Madison Tommy G. Thompson Center Review Panel & Board for purposes of selection of finalists and scholarship awards, respectively.

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