Scholars get a feel for the University of Minnesota on Visitation Day

Posted by on Friday, June 24, 2016 4:46 - 0 Comments


Scott Lanyon, the new vice provost and dean of graduate education, welcomed prospective students at the largest McNair Scholar Visitation Day event on record at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, June 21.

Approximately 90 students from the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf, Augsburg, Beloit College, Bemidji State University, University of Central Missouri, UW-Stout and UW Eau Claire took part in the event, which is a collaborative effort of the Graduate School and the Office for Equity and Diversity. The day’s activities included a presentation about the process of applying for admission to graduate programs, meetings with faculty and staff to discuss research interests, and a staff-led tour of the campus.

These visiting students are participants in the federally-funded TRIO McNair Scholars Program. They are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.

In his remarks, Lanyon emphasized that while the University of Minnesota is a leading institution with amazing scholars, the goal of the McNair Visitation Day is not to convince every prospective student that the U is the best fit for them. Rather, it’s to provide all visitors with the necessary information to make decisions for themselves about whether or not this is where they want to pursue their graduate and career goals.

However, he offered suggestions for how the Scholars can make their own decisions about whether the U of M is the right institution for them.

“As you consider the U of M, and indeed any university, you need to answer four very personal questions,” said Lanyon. “Are there faculty members here whose scholarship excites you? Are there faculty members here whose mentoring style is appropriate for you? Are there faculty members here who value your choice of careers and can help you prepare for those career paths? And last – but certainly not least – is there a community of graduate students who will accept you, support you, and push you to be as successful as you can possibly be?”

Derek Maness, Director of Outreach and Recruitment in the University of Minnesota’s Office for Diversity in Graduate Education, says that the visitation program attracts students from states as far away as Texas, California, Arkansas and Alabama. “It’s a great way for McNair Scholars to connect with our faculty and staff, to introduce them to our own thriving University McNair community of more than 400 alumni, and to get a feel for what it would be like to study at the U.”

127 McNair Scholars have applied for Fall 2016 admission to University of Minnesota graduate programs. Some U of M McNair Scholars are now University of Minnesota faculty, including Drs. Evelyn Davies-VennJoyce Bell and Jill Doerfler.

Lanyon closed his remarks with a final piece of advice: “Be yourself. You don’t need to convince anyone here that you are great prospects for graduate school. You are McNair scholars. We already know that you are great prospects for graduate school.”

For more information about the McNair Scholar Visitation Program at the University of Minnesota, please visit or contact Derek Maness at 612-625-3524 or at

Original story posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 on the University of Minnesota Graduate School News Blog.