Two Knox Students Named 2010 Kemper Scholars

Prestigious program promotes business leadership through liberal arts background

June 01, 2010

Two Knox students have been selected from a group of finalists for the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program, which provides scholarships, leadership and business experiences, and summer internships.

Hannah Basil and Anna Novikova will receive annual scholarships of up to $8,000 for each of their next three years of college. They also will participate in leadership and business seminars and internships during the summers after their sophomore and junior years.

"Students selected as Kemper Scholars receive the best preparation for careers in business and management, because their undergraduate study of the liberal arts is informed by real world experience in both non-profit and for-profit organizations," according to John Spittell, Professor of Business & Management and Executive-in-Residence -- and advisor to the Kemper Scholars Program at Knox. The program aims to promote education in the liberal arts while providing students opportunities for career exploration and practical experience.

Hannah Basil"As a Kemper Scholar, I want to apply my experiences to my own career in business and redefine the best practices. The professional mentorship the Kemper Scholars Program offers will be invaluable to my future, and dovetail perfectly with the liberal arts education I am receiving at Knox," says Hannah Basil, a first-year student from Chicago, Illinois.

Basil is active in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority - she is treasurer - sings in Women's Chorale, and serves as event coordinator for the Business Club. Even before her internships, however, Basil will get first-hand experience in leadership and finance. This summer, she'll serve as finance coordinator for the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). The program provides home repair service in very poor, rural areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. She'll set up a base in her assigned community and coordinate volunteer church youth groups who come to do the repair work.

"Warmer, softer, drier is their motto," Basil says. "I've been involved for years as a volunteer with my church."

Basil is planning to major in economics, with a minor in business and management. She first learned about the Kemper program from two other Knox Kemper Scholars, Emily Putnam '10 and Krista Anne Nordgren '12, who encouraged her to apply.

Anna NovikovaAnna Novikova, a first-year student from Palatine, Illinois, moved to the U.S. from Russia at the age of five. She is considering a major in political science, with a minor in economics or math. At Knox, Novikova is active in indoor and outdoor track and cross-country. She also plays piano for the Knox Jazz Combo. As a Kemper Scholar, Novikova looks forward to the opportunities Kemper presents. "They offer a lot of guidance for things most people have to do by trial and error," Novikova says. She also looks forward to meeting other Scholars.

"Kemper is a great organization that brings together really talented individuals," she says. "It was great to meet so many extraordinary people at Knox [during the group interviews] that I'm excited to meet people from other schools as well," she adds.

Knox is one of just fifteen liberal arts colleges in the United States that can nominate their students for the Kemper Scholars Program, sponsored by the James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago.

The Kemper Scholars Program's mission is preparing students for leadership and service, especially in the fields of administration and business. The program aims to promote education in the liberal arts while providing students opportunities for career exploration and practical experience.

Kemper Scholars receive annual scholarships of $3,000-$8,000, based on need, during their sophomore, junior, and senior years of college. Kemper Scholars also receive stipends to cover the costs of their work as interns in major nonprofit organizations in Chicago during the summer following their sophomore year. Scholars are placed in full-time administrative positions where they can learn about such things as financial management, organizational strategy, fund-raising, and non-profit administration. During the Chicago summer, scholars live in the same apartment residence hall and participate in a weekly seminar. They also have opportunities to explore the cultural, historical, and entertainment aspects of the city.

During the summer following their junior year, scholars are eligible for summer stipends to cover the costs of a learning opportunity in an internship in a for-profit corporation. Each fall, all Kemper Scholars attend a national conference to discuss summer projects, meet with former Kemper Scholars and consider topics in administration, leadership and business. They periodically read and discuss major works on leadership, service, ethics, or business; and they have frequent contact with Kemper Foundation staff to discuss the Scholars' academic and professional goals, internships and learning opportunities.

"In this era of rapid change, complex problem solving, and globalization, we at the James S. Kemper Foundation are proud of our role in helping shape future leaders whose broad background and experiential learning opportunities as a part of the Kemper Scholar Program will make them eminently qualified for the exciting opportunities," said Dr. Ryan LaHurd, President and Executive Director of the Foundation.

The Kemper Foundation was created in 1942 with an endowment from Kemper Insurance Companies and its founder, James S. Kemper, and members of his family. The Kemper Scholars Program was founded in 1948.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 45 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.