INDIANAPOLIS -- Pike High School graduate Nona Duncan of Indianapolis has been named the inaugural recipient of IUPUI's Through Their Eyes Memorial Scholarship, IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar has announced. The scholarship is valued at up to $15,000, renewable for up to four years.
Founded in 1969, IUPUI now stands on the historic homelands of Native peoples and the location of a once vibrant Black community in downtown Indianapolis. The scholarship was established in honor of the descendants of those displaced ancestors who once lived and thrived on that land, including people living in the Ransom Place and Indiana Avenue neighborhoods.
The name of the scholarship honors the IUPUI Black Student Union's 2006 Black Student Initiative, which was a catalyst for advancing change toward racial equity and inclusion on the campus.
"On behalf of the IUPUI campus, I am delighted to welcome Nona Duncan as a member of the 2021 freshman class and the inaugural recipient of the Through Their Eyes Memorial Scholarship," Paydar said. "This scholarship was designed to recognize the individuals and families who once built their lives in this neighborhood. We as a campus continue to look for ways to tell their stories and pay our respects as we live, work and study at IUPUI."
Applicants for the scholarship are required to submit an essay detailing their family's affiliation with the noted communities and IUPUI, with preference given to those who demonstrate or provide evidence of that connection.
Duncan's affiliation to the neighborhood where IUPUI now resides dates back to the 1890s, when her great-great-grandfather built a home on Minerva Street. In her application essay, Duncan said that her family members continued to live in the home until the expansion of IUPUI in the 1970s.
She learned about the scholarship from her aunt, who studies their family genealogy. She said the scholarship piqued her own curiosity and desire to learn more about her family's history.
Duncan begins her freshman year at IUPUI this fall and plans to study business.
The scholarship is part of IUPUI's ongoing efforts focused on diversity, equity and inclusion that include a broad set of initiatives involving stakeholders from across campus as well as in the community. Recent initiatives include the White Racial Literacy Project, which engages the entire campus in meaningful discussion about race and systemic racism; anti-bias training for all leadership search committees; a new path to promotion and tenure that recognizes diversity, equity and inclusion work; and the Diversity Speaker Series, which brings a broad range of activist voices to campus.
Information about the IUPUI Through Their Eyes Memorial Scholarship and other diversity scholarships is available through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.