Nation's Top High School Seniors Hosted for Getterman Scholars Day

January 29, 2023
This January the Honors College had the privilege of hosting 36 of the nation’s most academically sought-after high school seniors for Getterman Scholars Day. Since the program’s inception in 2017, 18 full-cost-of-attendance scholarships have been awarded to students from around the country and the program has grown into one of the most prominent scholarship opportunities at Baylor.

Named in honor of the late Ted Getterman (BBA ’49, JD ’51) and his wife Sue Getterman (BA, ’50), this nationally competitive scholarship program draws high-achieving students across all of the academic disciplines. It especially attracts students interested in an integrated undergraduate liberal arts education that encourages connections between the various disciplines of study, the local and the global, the past and the present, and the love of learning and service of God and neighbor.

"In this sixth year of our Getterman Scholars initiative, we received nearly 500 applications from every corner of the United States,” Honors College Dean Douglas Henry, Ph.D., said. “Applicants are drawn to the possibility of a full-ride scholarship, yet along the way they also learn about the Christian character, quality, vision, and rigor of education we make available. We know that who we are and how we educate inspires them, because they tell us so and their parents tell us so. Year in and year out, around 1 in 4 of these superlatively talented applicants choose to attend Baylor even though few receive the big Getterman Scholarship. Of the finalists brought to campus for interviews, nearly 1 in 2 of them become our students. The Getterman Scholars Program plays a crucially important part in the University’s recruitment of students who seek Christian higher education and have real potential for worldwide leadership and service."

Throughout the course of the program, students are given a glimpse into life as a Baylor Honors College student, which includes lunch in the Honors Residential College with current Getterman Scholars, interviews with faculty members, and a lecture experience.

This year’s faculty-led lecture was given by Alan Jacobs, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Honors Program. He guided the finalists in exploring two of C.S. Lewis’s short addresses: “The Inner Ring” and “Membership,” along with Lewis’s novel, That Hideous Strength. Jacobs encouraged students to consider what these texts reveal about both the possibilities and problems that confront gifted people who desire friendship, belonging, and perhaps influence.

“I hope the finalists came to see through Lewis’s essays and fiction that we never really ‘think for ourselves,’ if that means thinking on our own,” Jacobs said. “We always think in the company of, and in response to, other people. And so, a vital question for all of us to ask: ‘Among the people I know, who are trustworthy to think with?’ Our goal here in the Honors College is to be trustworthy — charitable, kind, honest, persistent — people to think with.”

According to Associate Director of Enrollment Management Erin Stamile, the Getterman Scholars Program has significantly expanded the reach and visibility of the Honors College.

“We see an annual increase in exceptional candidates each year when Getterman applications are due,” Stamile said. “More students than ever learn about our four academic programs and are therefore inspired to join us on campus in the fall. Within the classroom they are fantastic, engaged, curious, and dedicated students, and beyond the classroom they take part in study abroad opportunities, research, mentorship, and leadership roles across Baylor and beyond.”

For current Getterman Scholar Josh Browder, participating in the day as a current student allowed him to reflect on his experience as a finalist the year prior.

“It is very impressive how accurately Getterman Scholars Day represents what it is like to be a Baylor Honors College student,” Browder said. “The sense of community and belonging I felt at Getterman Scholars Day is something I now get to enjoy on a daily basis within the Honors College. The relationships I can foster with students and faculty is a defining feature of what makes Baylor home, and Getterman Scholars Day gives an authentic taste of the genuine and personal relationships Honors College students are able to nurture.”

Bringing so many academically exceptional students to Baylor comes with rewards and responsibilities alike.

“It’s a joy to teach and mentor such remarkably talented young men and women. All of us also recognize a significant stewardship in helping them discern and respond to God’s call,” Dean Henry said. “Getterman Scholars represent the very best of Baylor undergraduates, and we anticipate that as alumni they will achieve and lead at the highest levels. Our gratitude to Sue Getterman—and to all those who like her make first-rate Christian education possible at Baylor—is heart-felt and abiding.”

To learn more about the Getterman Scholars program, click here.