WMU News

Junior is only Udall Scholar from Michigan university

April 22, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- In what one WMU administrator calls "an impressive trend," a Western Michigan University junior is the school's third consecutive recipient of a prestigious scholarship for environmental studies from the Morris K. Udall Foundation.

Benjamin Appleby of Hastings, Mich., is one of 80 Udall Scholars from around the nation who will receive $5,000 for tuition, fees, books and room and board for the 2002-03 academic year. He is one of just three winners from Michigan institutions, and the only one from a public university in the state.

A philosophy and environmental studies major, Appleby recently became a member of the Lee Honors College. He also has volunteered with WMU's Students for a Sustainable Earth, worked as an intern on an organic farm in Albequerque, N.M., and volunteered at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery near Mattawan, Mich. Appleby is a senator of the Western Student Association and treasurer of the American Humanics Student Association. After graduating in 2003, he plans to attend law school, seek a position with the Environmental Protection Agency and eventually run for public office. His parents are Mark and Brenda Appleby of Hastings.

Appleby follows in the footsteps of WMU graduating senior Jacquelyn Styrna and alumna Heather Gott, who became the University's first Udall Scholars in 2000 and 2001. All three students were nominated for the award by Dr. John E. Martell, assistant dean of the Lee Honors College.

"The first three times the University has nominated students as Udall Scholars, they have won. It's an impressive trend," says Martell. "The Udall Scholarship is the nation's premiere award for students of environmental studies and public policy. Like Heather and Jackie, Ben has distinguished himself as one of the top students in this field. Clearly, WMU's environmental studies program is producing some of the nation's best talent."

Some 447 undergraduate students applied for Udall Scholarships this year and officials report that it was an especially competitive applicant pool. Other winners hail from such institutions as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford universities. The two recipients from other Michigan schools attend Alma and Hope colleges.

Established by Congress in 1992 to honor the late Arizona congressman and his legacy of public service, the Morris K. Udall Foundation operates an educational scholarship program designed to provide opportunities for outstanding U.S. students with excellent academic records. It is an executive branch agency whose board of trustees is appointed by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Scholarships are granted to those who demonstrate a commitment to fields related to the environment, and to Native American and Alaska Native students in fields related to health care and tribal public policy.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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