Scholarships and Awards
The College of Humanities and Sciences offers more than 100 scholarship opportunities to currently enrolled students annually. The system features a searchable database of opportunities and details the requirements for each. The application process opens early January and closes late February.
Robertson School Scholarships
Of the scholarships and awards in the College of Humanities and Sciences database, the following are offered through the Robertson School and may be of particular interest to mass communications students. Many of them are supported by, or endowed in honor of, former members of our faculty or alums, in a tangible representation of their deep commitment to VCU and to mass communications as discipline.
- 21st Century Communications Scholarship: Created by the members of the School of Mass Communications (now the Robertson School of Media and Culture) National Advisory Board to attract the nation’s best and most creative secondary school students to the School. The scholarship will be awarded annually and may be renewed annually upon review of the recipient’s performance. This scholarship will be awarded based on demonstrated merit, an assessment of the applicant’s promise for academic success, and an applicant’s statement of desire to succeed at the School and in a mass communications profession.
- Alden Aaroe Scholarship: Frances Aaroe established this fund in 1994 in memory of her husband Alden Aaroe, a broadcast journalist and one of Richmond’s most popular radio personalities. This scholarship is awarded to a rising junior or senior mass communications student studying journalism with a 3.0 or higher GPA. This award is based heavily on GPA.
- Ayoob-Wade Scholarship: This scholarship is to be awarded to a first-generation student pursuing a major in the Robertson School of Media and Culture who is a rising junior or senior in good academic standing.
- Barbara J. Payton Scholarship: The Barbara J. Payton Scholarship will provide an annual award to a deserving undergraduate student who is from the South Hampton Roads, Virginia region (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake or Portsmouth) studying in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. Preference will be given to a student from the Public Relations sequence.
- Dabney and Joseph Cortina Scholarship: This will be awarded to rising undergraduate juniors or seniors pursuing a degree within the VCU Robertson School with a grade point average of 3.0 or above and demonstrated need. Preference will be given to students who identify as first generation college students.
- Ed and Jo Pritchett Scholarship: The Ed and Jo Pritchett Scholarship will annually award a full-time student with a grade point average of 3.25 or higher majoring in print, broadcast, or online journalism in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. Preference will be given to students from the Greater Atlanta Metro area with second preference for students from the state of Georgia.
- George S. Loder Scholarship: Awarded annually to a student in good academic standing in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture.
- George T. Crutchfield Journalism Scholarship: This fund was created in 1989 by friends and family of George T. Crutchfield, a faculty member and former director of the School of Mass Communications. The scholarship is awarded to a rising junior or senior majoring in the news-editorial program, and is based on academic achievement and the promise of success in newspaper work.
- Jane Dowrick and Michael Whitlow Scholarship: This scholarship will encourage and reward students with high commitment to the community. Preferred student candidates will be involved in at least one of the follow activities: community-focused journalism; purposeful internships or extracurricular activities; or volunteering or working with Title I schools or disadvantaged youth to help develop an appreciation for the media's role in society.
- Jeffrey E. Blount Scholarship: The Jeffrey E. Blount Scholarship is awarded to students with a GPA of 3.0 and higher who have identified as first-generation college students and are pursuing a degree in journalism.
- Joseph F. Mason Scholarship: Richard (B.S. ‘83) and Elizabeth (B.S. ’84) Mason created this scholarship fund in 1994 in honor of Richard Mason’s father, Joseph. It is awarded to rising senior majoring in mass communications who is studying advertising with a GPA of 3.0 or better. The award is based on merit, as well as demonstrated student and community leadership.
- Lincoln Financial Media Journalism Scholarship: The Lincoln Financial Media Journalism Scholarship will be awarded to undergraduate students who have completed at least 60 hours in a program of study in Journalism, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those completed courses and be in good academic standing.
- Martha Jolly Grant Scholarship: The Martha Jolly Grant Scholarship was established in the School of Mass Communications (now the Robertson School of Media and Culture) at Virginia Commonwealth University with gifts from the family and friends in the memory of Martha E. Jolly Grant ’86. The scholarship is awarded to a student in the Robertson School of Media and Culture who has an interest in pursuing a career in public relations or advertising. Preference will be given to a nontraditional, returning student and/or one who is a member of a previously underserved population. Candidates must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Prospective recipients with an undeclared major must have completed their freshman year and demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in advertising or public relations.
- Martin Agency Endowed Scholarship: The Martin Agency Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a rising senior minority student majoring in advertising or public relations.
- Robert Beverly Orndorff Scholarship: Established by Media General/Richmond Newspapers Inc. in 1997, this scholarship honors former science and medicine reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch Robert Beverly Orndorff. The scholarship is awarded to a rising junior or senior undergraduate or graduate mass communications student interested in pursuing science reporting in print journalism. Prospective recipients will have a 3.0 GPA or better in mass communications courses.
- Scott Stevens Scholarship: Clinton Smith, a popular Richmond radio personality known as Scott Stevens, was a member of the adjunct faculty in the School of Mass Communications (now the Robertson School of Media and Culture) for several years, teaching radio production and writing classes. The scholarship, established by friends and colleagues of Stevens upon his death in 2003, honors his teaching legacy and will be awarded annually to an upper division broadcast journalism student interested in pursuing a broadcasting career.
- Tiramisu for Breakfast Scholarship: The Tiramisu for Breakfast Scholarship will provide financial support to undergraduate students who are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture majoring in public relations, advertising, and/or journalism. The Tiramisu for Breakfast Scholarship shall provide support for student professional development opportunities such as attendance at networking events or to gain membership in professional organizations. The scholarship may cover registration fees, related meals and travel as funds permit. More than one student may receive this financial award. The committee may consider additional professional development opportunities. Preference shall go to students in good academic standing who have financial need.
- T. Edward and Polly D. Temple Writing Award: The late Morton Wallerstein created this scholarship in 1976 in honor of T. Edward and Polly D. Temple. The scholarships is awarded to a rising senior majoring in journalism chosen by the faculty as the most promising writers in print journalism.
- Virginia Communications Hall of Fame Scholarship: In recognition of outstanding Virginia communicators, this scholarship was established by the school’s faculty and funded by an anonymous donor in 1992. It is awarded to an undergraduate student based on merit and writing skills.
Other scholarship opportunities are available through VCU and through certain professional organizations.
The following opportunities are available through professional organizations and other groups offering mass communications scholarships.
- Media Fellows Scholarships are the Washington Media Scholars Foundation’s essay-based scholarships. They are currently awarded twice annually with deadlines in mid-July and mid-November. Successful Media Fellows Scholarship submissions include an essay that includes the student’s personal financial need statement as well as a description of their academic achievements and career aspirations. They seek to support students whose academic interests are at the intersection of advertising and public policy. This includes (but is not limited to) Advertising, Marketing, Communications, Business, Political Science, Strategic Media and other majors.
- Richmond Public Relations Foundation/PRSA Richmond Scholarships: Three $1,500 scholarships are awarded to juniors or seniors at select Virginia colleges and universities who are planning to pursue careers in public relations after graduation.
- Society of Professional Journalists, Virginia Pro Chapter: Two $1,500 fellowships available to rising juniors or seniors. Applications are due in spring.
- Project Yellow Light: Three scholarships awarded. First place winner $5,000 scholarship. Second place $2,000. Third place $1,000. To apply, create a video designed to motivate, persuade and encourage your peers to not drive distracted.
- Emma L. Bowen Foundation Fellows: This program provides multi-year internships to students of color at media companies across the country. Each student works as a paid summer intern for each summer following their selection as an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow through their college graduation. They have three programming tracks - the Business of Media (Sales, Public Relations, Marketing, Human Resources, etc.), Content of Media (News Production, Broadcast Journalism, and Print Journalism), and Innovation of Media (Engineering, Software Development, Digital Marketing, Coding, etc.).
- The Barbara Fultz Women In Advertising Scholarship: The Barbara Fultz Women in Advertising Scholarship is open to women who have declared their major in the Virginia Commonwealth University Robertson School of Media and Culture Advertising Sequence (whether Strategic or Creative) and who are rising seniors and who have a grade point average of at least 3.2.
The Robertson School honors special students each year by bestowing the following awards.
Each semester, Robertson School faculty choose outstanding graduating students in each academic concentration to receive a Faculty Award. This is more than about just good grades—faculty look for students who really distinguished themselves while at VCU and in the School. This could be through campus involvement in clubs and organizations, amazing class work, demonstrating a can-do attitude and/or being an unforgettable member of the Robertson School family.
Separate awards are given out for undergraduate creative advertising, strategic advertising, broadcast journalism, digital journalism, public relations, graduate multimedia journalism and graduate strategic public relations. The winner receives a plaque with their name, the name of their academic concentration and the inscription that this person "best exemplifies the standards of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture."
At least once per year, Robertson School faculty choose a student to receive the Josephine (Josie) Varnier Stone Award, in honor of an unforgettable student who was killed shortly after graduating from VCU and the School.
The award identifies the winner, "as the student who best exemplifies the spirit of generosity, creativity and dedication."
Read more about Josephine Varnier Stone and her special impact on the Robertson School.
Kappa Tau Alpha is the honor society for journalism and mass communications. According to the organization’s website, "Membership must be earned by excellence in academic work at one of the colleges and universities that have chapters. Selection for membership is a mark of highest distinction and honor."
Membership is by invitation only for undergraduate and graduate students. The VCU Robertson School is home to the George T. Crutchfield chapter, named after the School’s inaugural director.
Once students are initiated into KTA they are eligible to be the KTA Top Scholar. This could be the same semester in which they are initiated or in a future semester. The chapter presents the award to the graduating undergraduate and/or graduate student with the highest grade point average, which includes a plaque and KTA medallion.