Never were the university's responsibilities for the development of character of greater significance than at the present hour.

Herman B Wells - First Inaugural Address

The Wells Scholars Program, created in honor of the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells, ranks among the most competitive and prestigious awards offered by any American university.

On his 90th birthday, Chancellor Wells was officially presented with the prestigious scholarship program as a gift from his many friends and admirers. Since his death in the spring of 2000, this community of talented and dedicated young scholars has remained a permanent legacy of his educational vision. The Wells Scholars Program is grateful to its alumni, friends, and admirers for their continued support, which ensures that the traditions founded by the first Scholars carry forward far into the future.

Wells Scholars have gone on to win innumerable national and international scholarships, fellowships, and grants, such as the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Soros, Mitchell, Churchill, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright, and Goldwater awards. Current students and alumni of the program are devoted to fostering a lifelong community of individuals with broad interests beyond scholarship.

The Wells Scholars Program wishes to acknowledge and honor the Indigenous communities native to this region, and recognizes that Indiana University was built on Indigenous homelands and resources. We recognize the Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi, and Shawnee people as past, present, and future caretakers of this land. Visit IU's First Nations Educational & Cultural Center site to find out more, including resources to learn about Native communities and ways you can support them.

Our program in action

Hear perspectives from current and former students, program faculty, and our own Director Christoph Irmscher!

Description of the video:

When thinking about the impact that the Wells program has had on me, it's almost hard to put it into words.
Oh, wow.
It's hard to overstate the impact the Wells Scholars Program had for me here at IU.
My name is Caroline Santiago Turner.
My pronouns are she/her/hers.
I am from St.
Louis, Missouri, and I am majoring in Musical Theater and minoring in Arts Management.
The financial advantage of not having to worry about paying for student loans getting out of school, and just that alone obviously
takes a huge weight off of my shoulders and my family's shoulders.
The Wells program creates a sense of community.
So the impact that it had on me, especially coming in as a freshman was that I automatically had a community of
people to there to support me and I had my class that I could make friends with and all of us were in the same boat.
And so, all of us were just so grateful to be here and to be challenged and to engage in critical discussion, and to learn.
My name is Coleton Hast.
I'm part of the Wells Scholars Class of 2020.
I graduated in 2020 with degrees in Linguistic Anthropology and Environmental Studies and minors in Chinese and Tibetan.
And right now I'm working as the linguistic project specialist at the Language Conservancy, mainly working on the Crow language dictionary.
In addition to, you know, just he actual benefits of the program between funding and you know, all of the other
resources made available to scholars, it was really from the beginning, a friend group, a group of like-minded peers.
And many of the Well Scholars in my class are my closest friends now.
My name is Christoph Irmscher, I'm a Distinguished Professor of English at Indiana University.
I'm also the Director of the Wells Scholars Program at Indiana University.
The Wells Scholars Program is Indiana University's top scholarship program.
It offers four years of paid undergraduate study at Indiana University.
It is a full ride and includes a year of study abroad and a number of other experiences.
It's essentially sort of a comprehensive family like program that takes selected students after a very tough admission process
through Indiana University and supports them while they are here.
What sets the Wells Scholars Program apart from other similar opportunities is that we forge friendships, relationships, not just for the four
years that you are at Indiana University, we forge friendships for life.
And when you look at our Alums, who are a significant really important part of the program, this is really true.
We stay in touch with them, they come and visit , they mentor current students.
Essentially, once you start in the Wells Scholars Program, it's a lifelong commitment and that is something we actively foster.
For me, it's really exciting to be part of the Wells Program because the students who are involved in the program, they're not just
the best students at IU, they're the best students in the world.
There are of course students in other programs that are as talented and as energetic as Wells students, but there aren't any who are better.
And so it's really fun to work with such enthusiastic engaged young people, because they all share a
profound commitment to paying forward their privilege.
They understand that their talent and their preparation and their admission to special programs like the Wells, which of course opens
the doors to a lot of other special programs, gives them advantages that the world needs for them to use to make things better.
So Wells Scholars are profoundly committed to making the world better, but they're very creative.
They're very original.
They do it all in their own individual, special ways.
You know, the promise of liberal arts education is sort of this broad view of the world.
And to get that broad view, you don't want to be in your narrow category of people that are, you know, that see the world the same as you.
And so to be able to bring people from diverse disciplines who are thoughtful and energetic and excited to be here.:
the Wells Program creates that community, and that's unique.
And so I think, yes, it's the financial support for the students.
Partly it's bringing talented people from all over and part of it's this unique community that's created that provides support and
provide students a way to learn in ways that they hadn't expected.
AndI think that makes it unique.
Indiana University is an amazing place to be and has lots of resources and all the advantages of a big campus.
And the Wells Program, I think gives you all the advantages of a close knit community of scholars within that campus.
And so I think it's really the perfect combination and the perfect opportunity to have lots of personal contact, mentorship, the
ability to deeply engage with other people, get to know different fields, different scholars, research projects, all these activities.
And at the same time, have all the opportunities of Indiana University open to you.
And you know, a beautiful setting on a beautiful campus.
A good candidate for the Wells Scholars Program is someone who doesn't just excel academically.
That is important; we are looking for people who are at the top of their class.
But someone who also cares about their environment cares about the world around themselves and wants to make a difference and has ideally
shown that commitment in high school, by doing things that matter, matter to the community, matter to friends, matter to other people.
And we would like for Scholars to carry that kind of commitment to the world around themselves, into their experience at IU.
If I could give a message to the people who make this program possible, it would, of course be, "Thank you!"
Not only for giving us this gift and this ability to learn and to pursue academic excellence here, but also to form
an amazing community that I'm so excited to be a part of, not only here as a student, but also after I graduate.
I know that because of your generosity, all of us are so excited to get out into the world and make a difference.

Show your support

The Wells Scholars Program is supported by people like you who believe in the indelible contributions and positive impact that our scholars will make to the IU and Bloomington communities -- and beyond.

Make a gift today