Dunne Receives SLUH's First Corporate-Based Scholarship
The Watlow Scholarship, which will completely cover two years of tuition, has been give to sophomore Collin Dunne. This will be both St. Louis U. High’s only merit-based scholarship and its first corporate-sponsored scholarship. The scholarship is being given by St. Louis-based Watlow, a designer and manufacturer of electric heaters, sensors, and controllers for thermal systems.
SLUH notably sought and received corporate sponsorships for the annual Cashbah fundraiser, and this scholarship is to some extent an outgrowth of that effort. The idea of corporate sponsorship of scholarship is seen as a model that SLUH can expand on in the future.
“I think corporate support in education as a general idea isn’t that uncommon. I certainly hope that it’s a model for something that is possible to grow in the future with other corporations. I think we’ve certainly broken some new ground. I think the most important thing is that we continue to request support for the school because it’s a great place and we want to make it even better,” said president David Laughlin.
“It’s a great opportunity for our kids, and for the reputation of our school as well. It’s nice to see the corporate involvement begin to flourish after something like this. A lot of credit goes to Mr. (John) Rick and Watlow corporation for the work they’ve done here in this inaugural corporate sponsorship,” said Director of Financial Aid Craig Hannick.
Dunne and four other SLUH sophomores were nominated by SLUH faculty to compete for this prestigious scholarship. The other sophomores were Alvaro Gudiswitz, Ramy Hawatmeh, Ryan Bub, and Sam Beckmann. Watlow looked for students with an interest in mathematics and science, looking to encourage a focus on engineering.
“Watlow was looking for strong math and science students who showed interest and potential to move toward the career of engineering, which was obviously some of their own work as well. So they’re interested, in a sense, in coming down to the school level and developing engineering leadership from a student level,” said principal John Moran.
Up to this point, all of SLUH’s financial aid has been offered solely on the basis of need.
“It’s a little bit different, but I think it’s a positive thing, and I think the fact that it is linked to some criteria that they’re looking for as a company is an okay thing too, because that’s what the relationship between corporate interests and supporting education provides a community,” said Laughlin.
Dunne explained that the selection process was a very brief one.
“We (the nominees) had dinner Monday night with the people from Watlow. And then we had an interview on Tuesday,” said Dunne.
“I was shocked (when I found out). I didn’t think that I could have won,” said Dunne.
Not only was Dunne pleased, but his parents were “very happy. They took me out to dinner (Wednesday),” he said.
Though the process was an entirely new experience for Watlow, the company had a fairly good idea of what it was looking for.
“It was interesting because we didn’t have any history, this being the first year we were doing the program,” said John Cooley, a Watlow Operations Manager who was on the board that conducted interviews for the scholarship. “We were looking for talented students who had a demonstrated record of success and service at SLU High, who had an interest and possible careers in technology and engineering. We were looking for individuals who showed a great curiosity in how things work, people who are tinkerers or naturally curious.”
Watlow granted the scholarship as part of a broader attempt to provide opportunities in engineering education that has up until this point focused on college students and graduates.
It was partially a personal experience that made Watlow decide to give the scholarship to a SLUH student.
“Through our president (Tom LaMantia, father of junior Dominic LaMantia), who had a son at the school, we knew the talents of the students who went to the school,” said Cooley. “What Watlow is trying to do as a corporation is aligned with the mission of the school in terms of trying to make our communities better and know that that’s well-aligned with the ‘Men for Others’ slogan at SLUH.”
Along with the scholarship, Dunne will be offered a mentorship opportunity with a Watlow engineer and a funding to attend a pre-engineering camp at a nearby college or university.
Did You Know?
St. Francis Xavier was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus and pioneering missionary to Asia.