Baker University has selected Hunter Finerty, who attends De Soto (Kansas) High School, to receive the 2021 Edward Lin Harter and Sylvia Lloyd Harter Scholarship, the university’s most prestigious academic award. Competition for the Harter Scholarship is by invitation based on GPA and ACT score.
As a Harter Scholar, Finerty will receive full tuition for four years on Baker’s Baldwin City campus. She also will have the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad at Harlaxton College in England.
“Integral to the Harter Scholarship competition is the opportunity for students to recognize and communicate how their previous activities and academics will lay the groundwork for success in college and beyond,” said Sydney Nowak, director of admissions at Baker. “Hunter’s presentation during the competition made it clear she will make a positive impact on the Baker community.”
As a Baker student, Finerty plans to build on the connections and skills gained through high school debate, forensics, and newspaper to prepare for graduate school and a career in social work.
“I have been involved in speech and debate throughout high school, and this year the topic was criminal justice reform,” Finerty said. “This sparked my interest, and I look forward to doing social work in the criminal justice system.”
Finerty, who has qualified for the state tournament every year, placed second as a senior in impromptu speaking at the Kansas Class 5A Speech and Drama Championships and qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association Tournament in June.
Baker’s small size appeals to Finerty.
“I’ve always liked getting to know my teachers as much as I can, which shades the experiences,” she said. “And a small school offers flexibility, so I can determine what I want to do and work closely with peers and instructors.”
The scholarship is funded through a gift from the estate of Edward and Sylvia Harter of Bryan, Texas. Graduates of Missouri Wesleyan College in Cameron, Missouri, the husband and wife wanted to contribute to Baker after the university maintained Missouri Wesleyan’s records and held alumni reunions after the college closed in 1930.