Madison, Wis. – University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross announced three undergraduate student winners of the annual UW System Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition. Now in its ninth year, the competition was established to support and promote liberal education throughout the state’s public university system.

This year’s essay prompt invited students to reflect on their own education in the context of the William Cronon essay, “Only Connect,” about the qualities that distinguish a liberally educated person.

Three students have been honored for writing outstanding essays:

  • Bonny Bobka, UW-Whitewater, “A Liberal Character”
  • Kristen Romes, UW-Madison, “Waive Your Flag”
  • Nicholas Schefsky, UW-Sheboygan, “The Artist & The Engineer”

Winners will each receive a $2,000 scholarship to help fund the remainder of their undergraduate education. Honorable mentions were awarded also to two student writers:  Leah Buttner, UW-Baraboo/Sauk County; and Jessica Faber, UW-Milwaukee.

“Thirty-one students from 13 UW institutions took up the challenge to write essays for this year’s competition, thoughtfully and creatively engaging with one of the seminal essays on the purpose and value of higher education,” Cross said.  “Every day I am in this position, I become more impressed with the quality of the students who attend our institutions and there is no greater testimony to that quality than this year’s winning essays.”

The annual competition, which is funded by private funds, is part of the UW System’s Liberal Education Initiative, which seeks to make the goals and outcomes of liberal arts education accessible and valuable to all UW students, regardless of major or degree program. Through a partnership with the Association of American Colleges & Universities and its national campaign, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), the initiative further seeks to spark public debate about the kinds of knowledge and skills that are needed to prepare today’s students for their future roles as citizens.  Visit the Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition page for more information about the initiative and to see the winning essays.

Media Contact

Heather LaRoi UW System 608-265-3195