Named scholarships

When it comes to earning a college degree, the greatest obstacle can be funding.

For this reason, The University of Akron is pleased for the opportunity each year to assist talented, deserving students achieve their dreams, thanks to more than 1,300 named scholarships established through the kindness and generosity of thousands of UA alumni and friends, corporations, and foundations.

Scholarships truly are the best way to ensure that today’s students persist to graduation. Scholarships allow students to enroll full time and remain focused on their studies; they also reduce drop-out rates, decrease the stress of student loans, and shorten the road to graduation.

The need for scholarships grows each year, however, as students continue to face an increased financial burden in pursuit of a college degree. In fact, 94 percent of today’s baccalaureate students borrow to pay for college – versus just 45 percent in 1993. Across the country, the average college-related debt for borrowers in the class of 2016 was $37,172; for Ohio students, that figure was $30,239.

If you are interested in making a significant contribution to student success, please consider a gift to the MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND MOVING FORWARD scholarship campaign, which is the University's most important initiative. You may also establish a named scholarship at The University of Akron, which can be created to honor a living person, in memory of a loved one, or to contribute to the growth of an area of study.

To learn more, please contact the Department of Development at 330-972-7238

How do I apply for a scholarship?

This is not the page to apply for scholarships.

Students who want to apply for scholarships should visit the scholarship page on the Financial Aid site.

The Department of Development does not accept applications for or distribute scholarships. Scholarships are distributed through the University’s Office of Student Financial Aid.

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Pontius, Kathryn Samuels Endowed Scholarship

The Kathryn Samuels Pontius Endowed Scholarship was established in 1989 (and revised in 2017) in memory of Kathryn A. “Sammy” Samuels Pontius by her loving family and friends. Kathryn A. Samuels was a 1935 University of Akron alumna who married Harry Pontius in 1937 and became the inspirational mother to six sons.  She once was described as being born to serve her family, friends and mankind; and her family remembers her as always happy and smiling, regardless of the problems, difficulties, or situations that arose.

Kathryn accomplished a great deal in her 74 years.  She graduated from The University of Akron in 1935 and earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.  As a student at UA, she excelled academically and had a wide range of educational interests, including English, Latin, journalism, communications, nursing, and secondary education.  

She was voted Miss Versatility in her senior year, thanks to her enthusiastic involvement in campus life, which included serving as Society Editor for The Buchtelite, a member of Phi Mu Omicron Chapter, and secretary-treasurer of the Republican Club.  She also was a collegiate tennis and basketball star who was UA’s 1934 women’s single tennis champion, a member of UA’s 1934 women’s basketball championship team, and a member of UA’s 1934 all-star Army Team.  Not surprisingly, she remained a sports enthusiast throughout her life.

Following graduation, Kathryn focused her energies on her family and became deeply involved in civic activities, education, and her church.  When asked how she managed to meet all the demands placed on her, she replied: “Be like a duck, calm on the surface and paddling like mad underneath.”

Her loving family once said that Kathryn “made this world a better, more beautiful, friendly, and worthwhile place because of her life upon this earth.” This scholarship always will serve as a tribute to all Kathryn A. Samuels Pontius accomplished and to the joy she brought to others.

The Kathryn Samuels Pontius Endowed Scholarship is intended to provide support annually to at least one incoming, full-time freshman with a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher. Preference will be given to students who share Kathryn’s academic interests and have enrolled at The University of Akron in one of the following:

  • The LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education to pursue a secondary education degree
  • The Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences to pursue an English or language degree
  • The School of Communication
  • The School of Nursing

Preference also will be given to students who are working to pay for their tuition.  The scholarship may be renewed provided the recipient remains in good academic standing and the preferred area of study.  Recipients will be selected by the Office of Student Financial Aid.

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