WOBURN, MA, January 18, 2013 – Cummings Foundation and New Horizons at Choate retirement community have announced the 17th Annual McKeown Scholars Program in honor of James L. McKeown, late trustee of New Horizons and president of Cummings Properties. The $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to one outstanding high school senior from Woburn this spring.
According to Dennis Clarke, president and CEO of Cummings Properties, “In the past 16 years, the McKeown Scholars Program has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to outstanding Woburn graduates alone, and nearly $2 million combined in all participating communities.” He added, “The awards were originally funded by a $1 million grant from Cummings Properties and New Horizons, as well as through generous gifts in Jamie’s memory.”
Born and raised in Woburn, McKeown was actively involved in the local community until his death in 1996 at the age of 41.
To be considered for the McKeown Scholar title and accompanying $10,000 scholarship, a candidate must be a legal resident of Woburn, and a high school senior in the upper 20 percent of his/her class, based on the most recently published class rank. Although open to students of other schools, the program is administered through Woburn High School. It will be the responsibility of all applicants to meet the deadlines and requirements established by Woburn High.
Selection criteria for the award include community service, scholarship, and communication skills, as well as a reputation for fairness and integrity. “These are all qualities Jamie McKeown possessed in high degree, and that we feel he would have considered key in determining eligible award recipients,” Clarke said.
Details about and applications for the 2013 McKeown Scholars Program are available through Woburn High School and at www.CummingsFoundation.org. Completed applications must be returned to Woburn High School no later than Friday, February 15, for verification of eligibility by that school’s administrators.
All qualified applicants will be invited to Woburn High School during school hours on Wednesday, March 6 to complete a 500-word essay on a topic of current interest to be announced that day. Woburn High English Department instructors will evaluate the essays, with students’ names removed, to identify finalists. A high school selection committee will then conduct personal interviews to determine the winner. No representatives of any Cummings entity are involved in the selection process.
Clarke noted that additional funding may be available for McKeown Scholars who work at or whose parents work at Cummings Properties or its affiliated New Horizons retirement community in Woburn.
“If the employment status and number of hours worked meet the criteria, the scholarships given to these students will be matched by their respective employer,” said Clarke, “resulting in a total award of $20,000.”
The McKeown Scholars Program was established in 1996. Among his many activities, McKeown was treasurer of the Woburn Industrial Development Authority, president of the Woburn Business Association, and the first alumnus of the Woburn Boys and Girls Club ever elected to its Board of Directors. He later became the Club’s youngest president as well.
Two scholarship winners from 2007 have gone on to find careers at Cummings Properties. Woburn resident Leah Mulrenan is associate general manager at Cummings Executive Suites, and Stephanie Knoettner of Wilmington is Cummings Properties’ communications assistant.
For a list of McKeown Scholars award winners, as well as previous essay topics, visit www.CummingsFoundation.org.