KOKOMO, Ind. — Attending Indiana University Kokomo is a family tradition for Christopher Santucci.
The recent Kokomo High School graduate knew he wanted to follow in his sisters' footsteps by going to college there — and his selection as the campus' Adam W. Herbert Presidential Scholar made that choice even better.
"It is a huge honor to be the Herbert Scholar," he said. "I am really excited about the opportunities it gives me, and that I can earn my degree without going into debt. I am elated and relieved."
The Herbert Presidential Scholars Program offers four-year renewable scholarships, valued at $30,000, and other benefits, to exceptional Indiana students. IU President Emeritus Adam W. Herbert created the prestigious program during his tenure, as the Hoosier Presidential Scholars program. The Board of Trustees renamed it in 2007, to honor Herbert's commitment to recruiting and retaining talented young Hoosiers.
Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said Santucci is an excellent recipient.
"He is an impressive young man who is focused on studying biochemistry," she said. "IU Kokomo continues to grow and attract talented students, who choose to attend our campus to earn an IU degree with a faculty committed to their success."
Santucci, 17, was a National Merit finalist, and two-time qualifier for the National Forensic League's national championships, in Birmingham, Ala.
Angela Siders, director of admissions, said he was chosen based on his exceptional high school performance, involvement, and leadership activities.
"We are proud to have him join the IU Kokomo family this fall," she said. "He will be a great asset to our School of Sciences."
The award also includes a stipend for overseas study, and a laptop. Santucci, whose parents are Christopher and Shelly Santucci of Kokomo, hopes to study in Germany, because he has studied German language in high school.
He looks forward to participating in the pre-professional club, and to seeing what other opportunities are available for campus involvement. At Kokomo High School, he participated in the debate team, speech team, National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, academic teams, and the Kokomo Mayor's Youth Advisory Council. He also works at Subway.
He plans to major in biochemistry, and then possibly work in the pharmaceutical industry.
He knew from his sisters' experiences that IU Kokomo would be a good fit for him.
His sister Erica studied radiography, and found a job immediately after graduating. His other sister, Breanna, is a junior studying elementary education.
"It's a small school, with excellent faculty, so you get individual attention and plenty of opportunities," he said. "It just seemed like the place I wanted to be. I am really excited about getting into a college classroom, and college curriculum. I can't wait to get involved."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.