About the Ridley Family of Scholarships
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.
Inquiries regarding any of the Ridley scholarships should be directed to Travis Robertson, Assistant Director of Alumni Interest Groups.
Types of Awards
- Awards for First Year Students
- Upper-class Students
- Ridley Scholars
- All African American Students
- Regional Scholarships
- Transitioning Awards
- Scholarships in Development
Scholar Selection Process
There is no Ridley-specific application for a student to complete to be eligible for the First Year awards listed below. Students are evaluated on the strength of their application for admission to UVA. Favorable application criteria can be found below.
Finalists for Ridley Scholarship interviews are selected in a number of ways. Ultimately the Outreach Team at the UVA Office of Admissions reviews all applicants that have been recommended by their high school guidance counselor or an application reader in the Office of Admissions, as well as any applicant who meets the criteria for a Ridley Scholarship that has been offered admission to UVA. Selection to interview does not rest solely on a recommendation from a guidance counselor; the Office of Admission seeks to identify and review all eligible applicants to the University.
- September: UVA Office of Admission’s Outreach team send 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. This letter includes the request that students who would like to be considered for scholarships submit their completed applications to the University by December 1.
- 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 thier completed application to the University submitted by the time the review is conducted in February.
- December 18: Guidance counselors are requested to have submitted their nomination forms to the Office of Admission’s Outreach team
- Early February: UVA Office of Admission identifies finalists for Ridley Selection Weekend. Candidates 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”
- 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 the Scholarship Selection Committee, and notified of awards the week after.
Awards for First Year Students
The selected Ridley Scholars demonstrate excellence in academics, leadership activities and community service. Typical winners come from the top 5% of their class, excel in a number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, and score in at least the 90th percentile on the SAT or ACT. In addition, these students are involved in their schools and communities, leading student organizations and immersing themselves in service projects.
There are four active scholarships for incoming students. Students who receive these awards (and maintain good grades) are eligible to receive up to eight semesters of support.There is no application process for first-year scholarships. Applications are based on a student’s application to the University.
Walter N. Ridley Fund
The Ridley Flagship Scholarship is the original scholarship endowed by black alumni of UVA. In the past 25 years, it has grown from a small book scholarship to a major award for incoming first year students. It is reserved for exceptional African-American students residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Scholarships are $12,500/year.
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 25 year track record of recruiting some of the best African American students to UVA. In 2009, the scholarship was renamed to also the 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 with this $40,000/year award.
Ridley Reid Endowed Fund
Donor Kenneth Reid (UVA Parent) endowed the Ridley-Reid Scholarship in 2006. It uses the same selection criteria as Walter Ridley Scholarship. It is a $12,500/year scholarship awarded every four years to an exceptional black student from Virginia.
Richmond Ridley Clarence Cain Endowed Fund
The Ridley Club of Richmond, Virginia sponsors a $12,500/year award for an exceptional African-American student from the Richmond, Virginia area. This scholarship has been the result of the collective efforts of the Richmond area alumni and businesses and will provide four years of financial support for one of the Richmond area’s best scholars. Richmond and surrounding area alumni continue to raise funds towards this geographic scholarship – the first of its kind for the Ridley Fund – and encourage others to support this effort.
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 $12,500/year 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 support at $12,500 annually. 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.
Recognition and Support for Ridley Scholars
Ridley offers more than just scholarship money to its students. Students meet with board members and receive academic and internship contacts. In addition, Ridley Scholars are eligible to apply for additional money to enhance their academic experience.
Ravenell “Ricky” Keller III Memorial Fund
The Ravenell (Ricky) Keller III Scholarship Award was established to perpetuate the memory of Ravenell “Ricky” Keller. Ricky was a 1985 Honors graduate of the College, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, the IMP Society of Leaders, University Guide Service and the Board of Trustees for the Class of 1985. Upon his passing, it became known that he was also a member of the Seven Society. Ricky participated in the First Years Seminars program and received the First Year Academic Achievement Award, the Afro-American Scholars Award, the Fraternity Leadership Achievement Award and the John Kenneth Crispell Memorial Award. He participated in the Study Abroad Program, which afforded him the marvelous opportunity to study at the London School of Economics.
Ricky believed quite fervently in the value of travel to broaden one’s perspective. He felt strongly that foreign experiences are integral and would have wanted to provide financially deserving, talented African-American students with the opportunity to participate in international exchange programs at the University of Virginia.
With this in mind, Ridley offers the Keller Scholarship to scholars in their third to seventh semesters. Scholars are eligible to receive one $3,500 grant to supplement a study abroad experience during a semester, summer or J-term.
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.
Special Awards and Recognition
In addition, Ridley offers special, one-time awards to current students.
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.
Ridley has regional scholarships that we award when eligible and qualified students emerge. Regional Scholarships are awarded in March.
Guinee Family Endowed Fund
UVA Alumnus John Guinee and his family established the Guinee Family Endowed Scholarship to support an outstanding black student from the Baltimore area.
Lois E. Kirby Fund
Jefferson Kirby III and Carol Kirby established this scholarship in honor of Mr. Kirby’s mother, Lois Kirby, who worked as a teacher in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This scholarship is designated for an African-American student from Mississippi.
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.
Former Ridley Board Chairwoman Teresa Bryce has established a scholarship in honor of her mother, a former high school science teacher. When this award is fully endowed, it will be awarded to an incoming student who intends to major in the natural, physical or environmental sciences or mathematics.
Meikel Andrade Memorial Fund
The Meikel Andrade Memorial Scholarship Award 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 award goal is $10,000.
Awards in Development – Not Currently Awarded
UVA alumni continue to encourage support for fundraising for the Ridley Scholarship Family. Listed below are scholarships for which fundraising is underway and may offer future scholarship opportunities.
Maryland Ridley Fund
In 2005, the UVA alumni in Baltimore, Maryland established a Ridley Endowed Scholarship. When it is fully endowed, it will be used to support an African-American student from the state of Maryland.
New York Ridley Fund
In 2006, New York alumni, led by former Ridley Board member Nicole Woodard (CLAS ’94), established the New York Endowed Ridley Scholarship to support African-American students from the New York tri-state area.
Raymond Graves Memorial Fund
Former Ridley Vice-Chairman Ben Hankins ’87 established the Ray Graves Endowed Scholarship in 2005, the same year as the untimely loss of his dear friend and co-worker, Ray Graves ’90. When it is fully endowed, this fund will be used to support the education of an incoming student from Northern Virginia.
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 engineering at UVA.