Illinois Wesleyan to Launch New Recruitment Initiative in New Orleans

A cohort of Posse Scholars from New Orleans.

April 25, 2016

Illinois Wesleyan University is partnering with The Posse Foundation, a national college access and leadership development program, to recruit high-achieving high school students from the New Orleans area. The program will recruit 10 students annually, beginning in 2017. Each Posse Scholar will receive a full-tuition leadership scholarship made possible, in part, by support from the Tortora Sillcox Family Foundation.

“Increasing access, diversity and our geographic reach are key goals that this new partnership with The Posse Foundation will help us to accomplish,” said President Eric R. Jensen. “We’ll be joining more than 55 top-tier colleges and universities—schools like Carleton, Dartmouth, Middlebury, Oberlin, and Saint Olaf—who partner with Posse. Posse’s unique selection process and pre-collegiate training program yield student leaders who are very successful in college and after they graduate. I’m looking forward to the Posse Plus retreats, in which campus issues identified by the Posse Scholars are discussed by a cross-section of the campus community.”

Founded in 1989, Posse identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. Posse partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.

The Illinois Wesleyan-Posse partnership is being supported financially by a $375,000 five-year grant from the Tortora Sillcox Family Foundation, which has as one of its principal missions overcoming socioeconomic barriers that limit college opportunities for public high school graduates. This financial support will be used to support leadership scholarships and other program needs. 

“Our goal is to connect outstanding students who have the drive, passion and intelligence to attend the best schools in the country and become our next generation of leaders,” said Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation. “We’re thrilled to have the support of President Jensen and excited to have a fine liberal arts institution like Illinois Wesleyan University join us in this mission. We feel IWU offers top-tier academics, and the kind of welcoming and supportive community in which Posse scholars will thrive.”

The Posse Foundation and Illinois Wesleyan’s admissions team will work together to identify and recruit Posse Scholars from New Orleans-area schools each year, with the first cohort coming to the IWU campus in fall 2017. In addition to Posse Leadership Scholarships, the students will have faculty mentors and other support services. Posse Foundation scholars achieve high persistence and graduation rates, typically in the 90 percent range.