LORETTO, Pa (WTAJ) — Saint Francis University announced Friday they’ve added a new scholarship for online students.

Students enrolled in an online associate or bachelor’s degree program through the Francis Worldwide School of Continuing Studies will be eligible for the Uplift Annual Scholarship.

Each year, the scholarship will honor the celebration of diversity and will award the recipient $15,000 each year divided evenly among three online adult learners in financial need.

This year, the inaugural winners were Kamron Lewis, a Criminal Justice major from Fresno County, Ca, Nadine Kerlin, a Management major from Boalsburg, Pa, and Victoria Smothers, an Organizational Leadership major from Johnstown, Pa.

Joy Thoma, a 1980 graduate of Saint Francis and member of the University’s Board of Trustees, established the new scholarship. She said she created the scholarship for the underdog.

“I have always rooted for the underdog, Thoma said.”There is no greater gift than education, yet some have a harder time achieving their educational goals, either due to some immutable characteristic, like race or ethnicity, or because they have made a mistake for which they have made restitution.”

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Dr. Trician McFadden, Dean of Francis Worldwide School of Continuing Studies, believes this scholarship is just an additional part of SFU’s mission and is grateful for its creation.

“We are truly grateful for the Uplift Annual Scholarship, which is the first established scholarship for FWW students,” shared Dr. McFadden. “This path of opportunity further voices SFU’s mission and supportive journey to become that someone.”