When Alicia Kee applied to Mercer University, she had no idea she would be chosen to receive one of its highest scholarship honors, the Bessie Willingham Tift Fellowship.
As an incoming student this fall, she comes to Mercer from the top of her high school class, as a model community leader and as a young woman driven to make the most out her experience at Mercer.
Kee, of Hoover, Ala., is the first out-of-state recipient of the academic scholarship covering all fees associated with tuition, room and board. She received the honor after an intense interview process and scholarship competition of approximately 200 other female prospective students.
"All I can say is wow!" said Kee. "It’s somewhat hard to fathom, but to be chosen from a group of so many great students is truly a great honor."
A recent graduate of Hoover High School, Kee excelled in both academics and leadership through the International Baccalaureate Program, National Honor Society, National Honor Roll and as a National Achievement Scholar. She also served as vice president for the Spanish National Honor Society and International Thespian Society, and was active in the history club and theatre department. Though she knew Mercer would allow her to explore her many interests, she initially was not sure about the move to Macon.
"Although I had heard many great things about Mercer, Macon just didn’t sound like the place for me," said Kee. "Finally, my mom insisted that I apply, and when I got a chance to visit the school for the Tift scholarship interviews, I just fell in love with the campus. There’s just something about the atmosphere. I can’t quite explain it, but it feels good."
As the fall semester approaches, Kee’s excitement only grows. She anticipates all the first experiences of beginning college at Mercer.
"I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life. I can’t wait to meet new people. I can’t wait to go to my first college class. I can’t wait to meet my roommate. I can’t wait to get involved in campus organizations. I just can’t wait!" she said.
Kee’s mother believes it was this enthusiasm along with a commitment to academics and strong Christian faith that brought her daughter to Mercer.
"Alicia has received a blessing that she was much deserving of," said Mary Hibbler-Kee. "She has a considerate and caring spirit for all that she meets; she is diligent in all that she does, and she strives for excellence whether at school, church or on the stage."
Kee’s goals for her years at Mercer are to major in Christianity, minor in Communication and Theatre Arts, then attend law school. Ultimately, she hopes to use her college experience to grow as a person both academically and emotionally.
"I don’t want to be just another student," she said. "I want to be someone who is genuinely respected and looked up to, not because of the award I received, but because of the person God has made me."
Editor’s note: Photos are available upon request. Contact Sonal Patel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 547-6431.