Receiving the campus' most prestigious scholarships sealed the deal for each of them.
"Receiving the Herbert Scholarship is a huge blessing," said Lehr. "It means I can graduate from college and begin my career without college loan debt. That is a huge deal for me."
Lehr, 18, Delphi, and Badger, 17, Tipton, are IU Kokomo's Herbert Presidential Scholars for 2014. The program offers four-year renewable scholarships, along with other benefits, to exceptional Indiana students. The scholarships are valued at $30,000 each.
I was excited to learn I had received it," Badger said. "It's a pressure that's taken off my family, and it means a lot to me knowing they won't have as big a burden during the next four years."
She plans a career as an event planner, and is excited about her hospitality and tourism classes.
"I'm looking forward to studying event management, and I'm ready to start doing what I want to do with my life," she said.
Badger was a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, student council, softball team, and a cheerleader at Tipton High School. She is the daughter of Christina Overdorf and Brent Badger.
Lehr wants to major in nursing, and said she was attracted to IU Kokomo because of its size.
"Because it is smaller, I can really get to know my classmates and professors," she said. "I was really impressed when I visited the School of Nursing, and I would like to get involved in some of the nursing groups on campus."
The daughter of Darin and Tana Lehr, she participated in Key Club, band, and musicals at Delphi High School.
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke looks forward to having these students on campus this fall.
"IU Kokomo is a destination of choice for outstanding students like Whitley and Lillian," Sciame-Giesecke said. "We have many excellent educational opportunities awaiting them, such as assisting faculty with research, internships, and international travel."
IU President Emeritus Adam W. Herbert created the 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.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.