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Students Receive Scholarship for Heritage Foundation Program

May 23rd, 2011

By Carissa Davis

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Nicole Frazer, 2011 YPC scholarship recipient

Amid the deadlines of final exams, term papers, internships and theses at Patrick Henry College, four students last year took time out of their schedules to attend special lectures by Newt Gingrich and other speakers at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. The lectures were an exclusive benefit bestowed upon members of the foundation’s Young President’s Club (YPC), to which a special group of PHC students now belonged.

“It opened my eyes to other avenues of work that are active and necessary within the political spectrum - not just running for office or being a chief-of-staff,” said Zachary Henry (Government, ’11), who benefited from this program last year.

Each year, an anonymous donor provides four YPC memberships to deserving PHC students, at a cost of $250 per membership. The College’s internship coordinator and Dean of Men, Jeffrey Thornhill, recently announced the recipients of the Young President’s Club membership for the upcoming school year:  Alex Harris (’12), Dana Blauvelt (’12), Nicole Frazer (’12) and Spencer Churchill (‘12).

“I'm really looking forward to networking alongside Alex, Nicole, and Spencer,” said Blauvelt. “Networking is one of the most valuable resources for a government major, and doing it alone can be rather intimidating.”

“It’s a great opportunity, and something the Lord dropped on this college unsolicited,” Thornhill said. “[The donor] called me out of the blue and asked to talk.

“It is a great blessing,” he continued. “The donor does not have unlimited resources, but he’s a godly man who cares about our nation. He wants to see the students personally and professionally develop, and to encourage sharp young believers who can deal with the issues of a nation and still walk with God.”

The Young Presidents Club is a support group of the Heritage Foundation, designed for political conservatives under the age of 40. It allows the members to participate in special briefings and meetings, as well as to engage in activities with the foundation’s professional Presidents Club. Previous meetings have included such speakers as Lady Margaret Thatcher, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and President George W. Bush.

Alex Harris (R), 2011 YPC scholarship recipient, with his brother, Brett

“The experience of interacting with a lot of like-minded individuals was an encouragement,” said Henry, summing up his experience last year. “I got to talk with several influential people and figure out how they got to where they are. They told us about the ups and downs of life right after college.”

“The older people were very encouraging career-wise,” observed Joanna Griffith (Government, ’12), another past recipient. “We heard how people have gotten from A to B and how they’ve arrived at where they are now.”

Because of the financial commitment required, the students were some of the only college-aged young people in the group.

“Most of the members of the Young President's Club were people who were well-off enough to donate and then take the time off to come to the meeting,” Henry said. “Not many college students can afford YPC. It’s a real blessing,” he noted, adding that, “it also a great way to represent the school to people at the event. There are not a lot of young people there, so some people are very inquisitive. It spreads the word about the College and is an opportunity to present yourself well to others.”

The Heritage Foundation is an independent, conservative think-tank located in Washington, D.C. Its many national and international cultural and policy experts research public policy and present the results to key public officials and lawmakers in an attempt to influence public policy. The Heritage Foundation is completely privately funded and accepts no contract work.

Dana Blauvelt, 2011 YPC scholarship recipient

“The Heritage Foundation wants to raise the caliber of young leaders and train them how to think. PHC and the Heritage Foundation have a complementary relationship,” Thornhill explained.

“I have a lot of respect for the Heritage Foundation,” said Alex Harris, a current recipient of the scholarship. Alex and his brother Brett co-authored the best-selling Do Hard Things and founded the grassroots TheRebelution.com movement of teenagers working hard to impact society. “The way they seek to educate, advocate, and influence is right in line with Patrick Henry College's vision to lead the nation and the shape the culture.”

At least a dozen PHC students have interned at the Heritage Foundation, including current scholarship recipients Frazer and Blauvelt. Thornhill called Heritage’s internship program “the best conservative training think-tank in the U.S.”

The gift of membership offers training and opportunities that complements PHC’s government program.

“To be provided with both the means and the fellowship will, I hope, be a huge launch pad for all of us as we seek future employment and other ways of affecting change in our country,” Blauvelt said. “I am very thankful that someone was so willing to invest in us that they would provide this opportunity.”