Wlajimir Alexis '13 Is Gates Millennium Scholar

Wlajimir Alexis '13, right, with Larry Griffith, vice president of the United Negro College Fund and Gates Millennium Scholar program.
Wlajimir Alexis '13, right, with Larry Griffith, vice president of the United Negro College Fund and Gates Millennium Scholar program.
Wlajimir “Jimmy” Alexis ’13 is the recipient of a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS), which provides full financial support for the cost of undergraduate education for outstanding minority students with significant financial need. One thousand recipients were chosen from 40,000 applications in this year’s competition, the 10th.

“The application was the size of a book and out of tens of thousands of applications I was chosen,” Alexis said. “Bill Gates was looking for the four R's: ‘Rigor, Relevance, Relationship, and Responsibility.’” Alexis recently returned from the United Negro College Fund’s Gates Millennium Scholar’s Program conference in Chantilly, Va.

Students are nominated by professional educators and Millennium Scholars are chosen based upon three major areas - academic achievement, community service and leadership. More than 13,000 Gates Millennium Scholars have been funded since the program’s inception. The award can be used at the college or university of the recipient's choice.

Alexis said he had three reasons for choosing to attend Hamilton. “Jerry Dirvin ‘59 is a good friend of the family and he graduated from Hamilton,” Alexis noted. “During the spring of my junior year we flew up here to see the campus and I loved it.”

Another factor, Alexis said, was that he wanted to get away from the temptation of running track at a Division I school near his home in Florida. “All the good universities in Florida have a quality track team and I knew that one way or the other I would end up running instead of studying. I love track too much so I have to keep my distance from it,” he explained.

Most importantly, Alexis said, "I wanted to make my mother proud as I sail off into uncharted territories.”

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMS), established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  The program is open to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need.

It aims to increase the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are severely underrepresented.  The program also provides graduate school funding for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars in those disciplines.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is administered by the United Negro College Fund, in partnership with the American Indian Graduate Center Scholars, the Asian and Pacific American Islander Scholarship Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Earlier this year Alexis was named one of Ebony Magazine's 2009 Top African-American Seniors in America. He is a graduate of Wolfson High School in Jacksonville, Fla.
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