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Two Penn Seniors named 2023 Lilly Scholars

 Zichu Wang, Allison Yu & Penn Principal Sean Galiher
Zichu Wang, Allison Yu & Penn Principal Sean Galiher


Penn High School is thrilled to learn that once again Penn students have been named Lilly Endowment Community Scholars.


The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County announced today the names of four students who have been offered the 2023 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for St. Joseph County. The two Penn students are Zichu Wang and Allison Yu. The other two students who have been offered the scholarship are Jennifer Leon of Washington High School and Cooper VanDriessche of Riley High School. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are chosen based on community involvement, academic achievement, character, and leadership. Click to read the release on the Community Foundation’s website.


Zichu Wang and Allison Yu are both seniors. Both attended Northpoint Elementary School and Discovery Middle School. In October, both Wang and Yu were also awarded National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist Designation, one of the largest groups ever to achieve the coveted academic status at Penn. Last December as juniors, Wang and Yu were named Rising Stars of Indiana by the Indiana Association of School Principals’ Department of Student Programs. As far as extracurricular and co-circular activities,  Wang plays on the Tennis Team and Yu is on the Model UN Team and is a Freshman Mentor.


Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees, and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars may also participate in the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN), which connects scholars with resources and opportunities to be active leaders on their campuses and in their communities. Both the scholarship program and LSN are supported by grants from Lilly Endowment to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI).


Lilly Endowment created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-1999 school year and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling in excess of$486 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception. 


In St. Joseph County since the Community Foundation began administering the Lilly Scholarship in 1998, 33 Penn Scholars have been named accounting for 25% of the total number of Scholars! Last year Penn had four Penn seniors named Lilly Scholars (click to read that story).


Upon learning that once again Penn High School students were selected as Lilly Scholars, Principal Sean Galiher said “We are extremely proud of Zichu and Allison for their academic dedication and scholastic achievements of being named recipients of this prestigious Indiana scholarship. When our students receive recognition of this kind, it is affirmation that Penn High School is delivering on our commitment to provide academic excellence, a wide range of choices for college and career pathways, and opportunities for a variety of student activities that facilitate community involvement and service.”


Awards in St. Joseph County are based on academic excellence, leadership, community service, written essays, personal recommendations, under-representation, and whether the student is the first generation of her/his family to attend college. The Community Foundation received 90 applications from 11 schools, and submitted final nominees to the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, ICI, for the selection of scholarship recipients.


The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.


More about the Lilly Endowment

Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company to establish the Lilly Endowment. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.


Since 1997, Independent Colleges of Indiana has administered the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program statewide with funding provided by Lilly Endowment. Founded in 1948, ICI serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ over 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of over $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates, and ICI institutions produce 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees while enrolling 20 percent of its undergraduates.