Bonner Scholars Program

Bonner Scholar with e-portfolio.

Access to education.  Opportunity to serve.

Established in 1991 by the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, Inc., of Princeton, New Jersey, the Bonner Scholars Program is the premier scholarship program at Emory & Henry College. The Bonner Program offers 20 scholarships annually to incoming students. In return, Bonner Scholars work with a variety of civic engagement projects that build usable skills and result in meaningful outcomes for the community. Students also participate in regular reflection and team meetings throughout the semester. To find out more about the Bonner Program from the perspectives of students, listen to the Bonner Buddies Podcast: Episode 1. (You can find a transcript of the episode here.)

Emory & Henry College is committed to making its education available to qualified applicants regardless of their financial circumstances. The Bonner Scholars Program is the primary means by which we make this commitment a reality for future Emory & Henry students. For those 15 students admitted into the Bonner Program from each entering class, the college guarantees to assemble a financial aid package of student loans, grants, and scholarships that meet 100 percent of a Bonner’s demonstrated financial need. This is a significant commitment not often found at small liberal arts colleges like Emory & Henry.

At Emory & Henry, we know that our students do not have to wait until they graduate to be active and involved citizens making a difference in the lives of people and places. Instead, we call all of our students, especially Bonners, to use their unique gifts and talents now as they learn and grow in service to the community, making the world a better place. In the Bonner Scholars Program, we take seriously our relationships to each other, to our neighbors, and to Southwest Virginia and the larger world.

There are nearly 80 Bonner Scholars in our program and they often describe themselves as a family. To be a family means that we seek to provide all Bonners with the supportive community necessary to be successful in college. In our weekly reflection meetings, we discuss our service work, our callings to lives of service and social justice, and the major issues of the day. These times together offer each of us the friendships and connections that last a lifetime. By serving together, we come to recognize the many important things that we share, things that otherwise we could not recognize were it not for the support we offer each other every day. As a family defined by service, Bonners help each other through tough times and celebrate together our individual successes.

As you learn more about the people and the opportunities for service that define the Bonner Scholars Program at Emory & Henry, please know that we are committed to the many aspects of being a family that serves, but our work is never done and we can always be made stronger by your talents and vision. We look forward to welcoming you to Emory & Henry and to having you join us in the important work that lies before us.

As a Bonner Scholar, you get to…

  • Form lasting bonds and friendships on campus and in the local community

  • Develop leadership skills on campus and beyond

  • Explore your passions through civic engagement projects 

  • Travel domestically and abroad 

  • Fund your education at Emory & Henry

  • Receive help paying off your student loans when you graduate

As a Bonner Scholar, you will…

  • Attend New Bonner Orientation to meet and get to know other Bonners in your class

  • Be involved in a wide range of projects in the community

  • Participate in regular group reflection and project team meetings

  • Create a civic engagement e-portfolio that showcases your experiences and the skills you will develop 

  • Complete projects during the summer at an agency of your choosing

Are you passionate about service and social justice?  Are you eager to connect your education with building stronger communities?  Do you need help paying for college?  If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then the Bonner Scholars Program may be for you…

Emory & Henry College agrees to meet 100% of a student’s financial need through the student’s subsidized Stafford loan eligibility, annual Bonner stipend, other scholarships, and grants. Any outside scholarships will be included in the grant portion of a student’s package.

Common Commitments of the Bonner Program:

The Bonner Program has identified six common commitments in service. These common commitments serve as a guide for helping us deepen our service experiences and become more effective agents of change.

  • Social Justice: Advocating for fairness, impartiality, and equality while addressing systemic social and environmental issues.
  • Civic Engagement: Participating intentionally as a citizen in the democratic process, actively engaging in public policy and direct services.
  • Community-Building: Establishing and sustaining a vibrant community of place, personal relationships, and common interests.
  • Spiritual Exploration: Exploring personal beliefs, values, and spirituality encountered in service while respecting the practices of others.
  • International Understanding: Developing international understanding that enables individuals to participate in a global society.
  • Diversity: Respecting and engaging the many different dimensions of diversity in our public lives.

Apply to be a Bonner Scholar