Ridley offers a number of scholarships for African-American students across the course of their UVA career. While most Ridley Scholarships are for incoming first year students, there are selected awards reserved for upper-class students who distinguish themselves as exceptional students at the University. Selected Ridley Scholars demonstrate excellence in academics, leadership activities and community service. Students who receive these awards are eligible to receive up to eight semesters of support.

Scholar Selection Process

There is no Ridley-specific application for a student to complete to be eligible for first year awards.

Finalists for Ridley scholarships are selected in a number of ways:

  • The Outreach Team at the UVA Office of Admission reviews all applicants that have been recommended by their high school guidance counselor or an application reader in the Office of Admissions 
  • The Office of Admission identifies and reviews all eligible applicants that have been offered admission to UVA and meet the criteria for a Ridley Scholarship

Applicants are reviewed holistically, but favorable criteria include:

  • Minimum score of 600 each section of SAT/30 ACT
  • Strong, rigorous academic curriculum
  • Honors-level grades
  • Demonstrated and consistent leadership, citizenship, community service
  • Essays that are “out-of-the-box”

*Note: UVA is test-optional for first-year students applying for the Fall 2021 semester*

Scholarship Consideration Timeline:

  • September: UVA Office of Admission’s Outreach Team sends initial communication to guidance counselors in every high school in Virginia, and a targeted group of out-of-state schools, introducing their work and outlining scholarship opportunities for underrepresented students. 
  • December 1: This is the recommended date to have submitted a completed UVA admission application for anyone who wants to be considered for a Ridley scholarship.  However, the UVA Office of Admissions will also consider anyone who fits the scholarship criteria and has their completed application to the University submitted by the time the review is conducted in February.
  • Mid-December: Guidance counselors are requested to have submitted their nomination forms to the Office of Admission’s Outreach team (due date varies)
  • Early February: UVA Office of Admission identifies finalists for Ridley Selection Weekend.
  • Mid-February: The Ridley Scholarship Committee contacts finalists to invite them to attend Selection Weekend.
  • Late March: Ridley Selection Weekend takes place in Charlottesville. Finalists are interviewed by a selection committee, and are notified of awards the week after.

Awards for First Year Students

Walter N. Ridley Fund

The Ridley Flagship Scholarship is the original scholarship endowed by black alumni of UVA. In the past 30 years, it has grown from a small book scholarship to a full tuition-and-fees award for incoming first-year students. It is reserved for exceptional African-American students residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Meikel Andrade Memorial Fund

The Meikel Andrade Memorial Fund Scholarship was established in 1998 to honor the late Meikel Andrade who died in an accident two months before her enrollment at the University of Virginia. For more than a decade, this fund provided a $1500/year scholarship to incoming female students. In 2011, Meikel’s parents, Walt and Donna Pearson, decided to turn the scholarship into a quadrennial award for an outstanding incoming female student.

The Gregory Raven Batipps Memorial Fund

For nearly twenty years, Ridley annually awarded a one-time, $5000 award to a second or third year student in honor of Gregory Raven Batipps, a UVA student who died tragically during his second year. In 2012, the Batipps family agreed to transition the memorial scholarship into a four year scholarship for an incoming student from Washington, DC, or Virginia.

Bryce Fund

Former Ridley Board Chairwoman Teresa Bryce Bazemore has established a scholarship in honor of her mother, a former high school science teacher. This award is made to an incoming student who intends to major in the natural, physical or environmental sciences or mathematics.

Holland / Blackburn Fund

The Jerome Holland Scholarship was endowed by Anthony Pilaro (LAW 1960) in 1987. It was named to honor the late Jerome Holland, a former president of Hampton University and Ambassador to Sweden. It has a 30-year track record of recruiting some of the best African American students in the nation to UVA. In 2009, the scholarship was renamed to also honor Jack Blackburn, the former UVA Dean of Admissions who played a significant role in establishing the scholarship’s presence on Grounds. In 2011, the Holland-Blackburn fund merged with Ridley. We are pleased to use this award to recruit talented out-of-state students to UVA.

Ridley Reid Endowed Fund

Dr. Kenneth Reid (UVA Parent) endowed the Ridley-Reid Scholarship in 2006. It uses the same selection criteria as the Walter N. Ridley Scholarship. It is a full tuition and fees scholarship awarded every four years to an exceptional African-American student from Virginia.

Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Endowed Fund

The Ridley Club of Richmond, Virginia sponsors a full tuition-and-fees award for an exceptional African-American student from the Richmond, Virginia area. This scholarship has been the result of the collective efforts of Richmond area alumni and businesses, and will provide four years of financial support for one of the Richmond area’s best scholars. Richmond area alumni continue to raise funds toward this geographic scholarship – the first of its kind for the Ridley Fund – and encourage others to support this effort.

Michael Russell Engineering Scholarship

In 2007, School of Engineering and Applied Science alum Michael Russell of Atlanta, GA established a scholarship fund for African-Americans pursuing a degree in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at UVA. They are expected to possess the leadership and scholarship qualities that typify all Ridley Scholars.

Awards for Upper-Class Students

The Gregory Ledford Endowed Fund

In 2007, McIntire School of Commerce graduate Gregory Ledford established the Gregory Ledford Endowed Scholarship to benefit a rising third year African-American Commerce School student. This scholarship provides full tuition-and-fees for two years for an African-American student who has been admitted to the School of Commerce. Preference is given for students concentrating in Finance. The chosen scholar must have a high grade point average and must demonstrate involvement in University, community or other individual extracurricular pursuits.

The Sylvia V. Terry Scholarship

Named for legendary OAAA Dean Sylvia Terry, the Terry Scholarship recognizes the scholastic and community achievements of Black or African-American students at UVA. The scholarship provides two years of full tuition-and-fees support for the recipient. Ideal applicants are rising Third Year students with strong grades, leadership activities, and community service. Because of Dean Terry’s pivotal role in creating the Peer Advisor Program, preference is given to academically-strong candidates with significant experience as mentors. Click here to read more about Sylvia Terry and the Peer Advisor Program.

The Dr. Derek E. Brown Scholarship 

The Dr. Derek E. Brown Scholarship was created to remember Dr. Brown’s dream of helping African-American male students seeking admission to medical or dental school.  This scholarship is designed to help qualified male students defray the high cost of applying to medical or dental school. The scholarship was created by his family.

The Paige Pre-Medical Fund

Former Ridley Board member Sophia Paige established this scholarship, which started issuing grants in 2009. This scholarship is designed to help pre-med students defray the high cost of applying to medical school. The applicant must be a fourth-year African American student at the University of Virginia who has taken all pre-medical requirements and the MCAT. He or she must be planning to enter medical school immediately after graduating. One winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship (non-renewable), which he or she may use to pay for medical school application fees and interview expenses.

Recognition and Support for Current Students

Ridley offers more than just scholarship money to its students. Students meet with board members regularly, and receive academic and internship support. Ridley Scholars are also eligible to apply for additional money to enhance their academic experience.

Annetta Thompson Fund

Family and friends honored the life of the first full-time administrator for the Walter N. Ridley Scholarship Fund by establishing this fund in 1999. The Annetta Thompson Scholarship is awarded to a deserving 4th-year Ridley scholar who exemplifies Annetta Thompson’s commitment to education. Annetta Thompson received her bachelor’s degree in education from UVA in 1973. She valued the role of education and the importance of creating opportunities for young people pursuing an education. Annetta’s hard work and diligence during her tenure as the fund administrator contributed to the tremendous growth and success of the Ridley Fund.