Geneva, NY-Crystal Stinson, of Romulus, is starting a new family tradition at William Smith this fall. She won a $5,000 Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship as the first in her family to go on to college.
Stinson was initially encouraged to apply for the scholarship by her high school guidance counselor. Her parents had little opportunity to attend college as they had married young and needed to devote their time to supporting a family. Before that, both Stinson's grandfathers served in the military rather than attend college.
“My step-grandmother attended college, though, and has been a great inspiration to me,” said Stinson, who is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Swinehart, Sr.
Through a partnership with the Independent College Fund of New York (ICFNY), The Coca-Cola foundation is bringing its First Generation Scholarship Program to 43 colleges and universities across New Jersey and New York, including Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Each student receives $5,000 toward college, which is renewable for up to three additional years based on academic standing and participation in campus activities. The Coca-Cola Foundation started the scholarship initiative as a way to help more students become the first in their family to attend college.
“We created the Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholarships to help make college a reality for more students,” said Ingrid Saunders Jones, chairperson of The Coca-Cola Foundation and senior vice president of The Coca-Cola Company. “It's a way we can recognize the hard work and determination of local students.”
“In New York, three out of four students attending ICFNY member colleges need financial assistance to complete their college degrees. This scholarship will go a long way in helping students reach college graduation,” said Joe Curtin, president of Albany, New York-based Independent College Fund of New York, which represents 29 private colleges in the state. “It will help students who are role models in their family and their community and reward students for hard work and perseverance.”
ICFNY was founded in 1952 by a council of college presidents and corporate leaders. The fund's mission is to secure support and partnerships from corporations and foundations. In its 49-year history, ICFNY has raised more than $39 million for Scholarships, curriculum development, technology enhancement, and faculty recognition.
The Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholarship Program was created in 1994 and has since expanded with $3.3 million in funding to support students at 275 universities across 27 U.S. states. The Coca-Cola Foundation has invested more than $100 million in a variety of education initiatives around the world since the 1990s.