University Nominated Awards: The Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is an award given to approximately 300 college sophomores and juniors based on merit and financial need. The award, which began in 1986, provides a maximum of $7,500 per academic year and is considered one of the the most prestigious scholarship awards in the United States. Only four undergraduate students may be nominated by each university per year, with such exceptional schools as Princeton, Harvard, Duke, and Kansas State leading the list of most award recipients since the founding.

The scholarship is awarded by the Foundation Board of Trustees; they consider nominees based on fields of study, career goals, and the individual’s potential to make a contribution to the chosen field. Letters of recommendation, essays by the nominee, and current collegiate GPA are all factors in the decision.

Barry Goldwater was a Republican Senator from Arizona (1953 to 1965, 1969 to 1987) and the nominee for the Republican Party’s Presidential ticket in 1964 (with William Miller as his running mate). Mr. Goldwater was a charismatic speaker with a strong conservative ideology. His work is widely credited for the resurgence of American conservatism and helping to shape the modern libertarian movement. His loss by a landslide in 1964 also opened the door for the next generation of Republican leaders, including Ronald Reagan. After returning to the Senate, Mr. Goldwater took a prominent role in military legislation and advising, and is said to have urged President Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

Goldwater surprised many in the 1980s, when he began to speak out against the increasing role of the Christian evangelicals in the Republican party, going so far as to oppose the religious right on many key issues. His belief that religion should not be a part of public life and his arguments that abortion, gay rights, women’s rights, and other traditionally left-leaning issues were truly about freedom (and therefore, libertarian ideology) left him a complex figure in American politics.

The Goldwater scholarship created in his honor by the United States Congress continues to seek the best scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in universities. As the process for receiving the scholarship is by nomination only, the Board of Trustees is able to heavily analyze the submissions. The scholarships are open to each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands. With the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, excellence is rewarded.

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