March 13, 2006
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Baldwin City, Kan. – Baker University has named six high school seniors as recipients of the Harter Scholarship, the university’s most prestigious academic scholarship.

Louise Cummings-Simmons, vice president for enrollment management and financial aid, announced that Harter Scholarships had been awarded to: Celeste Leech, Minneapolis; Kendra Hanson, Salina; Erin Risch, Topeka; Kyle Crow, Shawnee; Jordan Myers, Perkins, Okla.; and Craig Finger, Quinter.

As Harter Scholars, the students will receive full tuition for four years at Baker and will have the opportunity to spend a semester of study abroad at Harlaxton College in England.

Cummings-Simmons said this year’s recipients all had 4.0 grade-point averages. The group’s average ACT score is 34 and all six are in the top 2 percent of their graduating classes.

Following is a brief look at each of the recipients:

Leech, a senior at Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kan., participates in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Select Choir, student council, volleyball and cheerleading. Leech, whose career interests are medicine and accounting, is a member of the National Honor Society and involved in theater.

Hanson is on the Principal’s Honor Roll and a Kansas Honors Scholar at Salina South High School, where she participates in Latin Club, National Honor Society and Scholars Bowl. A hospital and Sunday school volunteer, Hanson plans to major in Spanish and political science.

Risch, a Shawnee Heights High School senior, is a National Merit Semifinalist and a four-year member of the school’s High Honor Roll. She is president of the National Honor Society and was captain of her school’s High-Q team as a sophomore. She participates in small group Bible study and assists with vacation Bible schools and youth group service projects. A cellist and pianist, Risch plans to major in French and political science.

Crow, a Shawnee Mission West High School senior, plans to major in biology and pre-med.

Myers, who attends Perkins Tryon High School in Perkins, Okla., is a National Merit finalist and member of the Superintendent’s Honor Roll. She is president of the National Honor Society and participates in Key Club, Jazz Band and Woodwind Choir. She has been a clarinetist for the All-State Band for three years. Myers plans to major in history.

Finger has participated in student council, United Methodist Youth Fellowship, band and Students Against Destructive Decisions. The Quinter High School senior is a letter winner in football, basketball and track. Finger is a member of the National Honor Society, Literary Club and History Club. He is a euphonium player for his band and participates in choir and forensics. Finger plans to major in mass communication broadcasting.

The six recipients were among 228 students who competed for various scholarships during three daylong, invitation only events this academic year at Baker. Students from six states visited campus for Scholarship Day events, Cummings-Simmons said.

“This was the second year we had Scholarship Days and we had 30 more students participate this year and we’re very pleased with the increase,” she said. “The Harter Scholars are just outstanding and it was a very competitive group of students.”

To be considered for the Harter, students must meet two of the following guidelines, a GPA of at least 3.85, an ACT score of 30 or higher, or a ranking in the top 5 percent of their graduating class. To retain the scholarship, winners must maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA, plus earn a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester.