by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson; video by Stephen Munchel
Before Orientation, Pre-O or even Move-In Day—five students in the class of 2027 had already begun building a close-knit circle of friends and a solid foundation for success. Each had earned a scholarship to Dickinson through the Reynolds Leadership Scholar program. And before their first class at Dickinson had begun, they’d already started to connect with peers and potential mentors who could make all the difference during their time at Dickinson and beyond.
The Reynolds scholarship was established last year by Baltimore-area community leaders George Reynolds and wife Jennifer Reynolds '77, a Dickinson trustee, and is awarded to five Maryland high-schoolers each year who’ve demonstrated strong academic performance and leadership and entrepreneurial potential. In addition to providing fundign for tuition, the students receive leadership training and several opportunities each year to connect with successful professionals who live in their home state.
“What differentiates the Reynolds Scholarship is that it's a program as well,” says Evan McClure ’27 of Ellicott City. “It’s not just about the financial assist. It’s about the opportunity and the people.”
The heart of the program is the cohort of Reynolds Scholars, who met with fellow awardees months before the start of their college careers. Some in the 2026 and 2027 cohorts had already started their own businesses as high-schoolers, while others had established or led innovative extracurricular and volunteer programs or demonstrated exceptional leadership through athletics.
“It really made a big difference, coming in here knowing that there are four other students that I already know,” says Reisterstown native Farrell Gregory ’26.
Also critical: George and Jennifer Reynolds connect the scholars with successful professionals within the couple’s vast combined professional network. Those virtual and in-person connections also begin prior to their campus arrival and continue throughout their four on-campus years. As they speak with accomplished people in fields they’re exploring, the students benefit from informed advice on class selection, career options and internships. And those connections, too, begin before their arrival on campus.
“It's a family atmosphere. We're not on our own—there are always people that help us and talk to us,” says B.J. McNeil '26, a student-athlete from Chevy Chase, who’s already consulted with alumni working in sports consulting, international business and finance and has met Maryland professionals across a broad spectrum of fields. “It helps me make decisions about my future.”
On Sept 6, the first two cohorts of Reynolds Scholars gathered at the president’s house for a celebration that brought them together with recipients of Dickinson’s Presidential Scholarship, the college’s highest recognition for scholarship and leadership, and with members of the president’s leadership team.
“It’s really welcoming,” says College Park’s Kaitlyn Diaz '27, noting that the Sept. 6 event marked her cohort’s second meeting with the president of the college. "I don't think this happens at many other campuses."
The Reynolds Scholars also took the opportunity to reconnect with the alumni couple who had made their Dickinson experience possible and who would continue to help enrich their experiences—and their budding professional networks—throughout their four years on campus.
“They’re always looking out for us and trying to put us in the best position that we can possibly be,” says Will Single ’26 (international business & management) of Chevy Chase. “It’s a really cool experience, and I’m excited for the future opportunities that I know are coming.”
Eleanor Moose ’27 of Silver Spring also appreciates the personalized attention and vote of confidence the scholarship brings. And she’s ready for the good work ahead.
“I can definitely already tell that it’s opening doors,” she says. “But [George and Jennifer] are asking, ‘OK, what more can you do?’ That encourages me to kind of take a step up from what I thought I could accomplish ... and broaden my horizons.”
Published September 21, 2023