Bonner Center

Bonner Scholars

Bonner scholars sort donated medical supplies at MedWish International
Bonner Class of 2026 engage in service at MedWish International during their First Year Trip.
Photo credit: Brittnei Sherrod

Celebrating 30 Years of Service

This year Oberlin Bonner Scholar Program is Celebrating 30 years! Oberlin College partnered with the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation in fall 1992 to launch the Bonner Scholars Program (BSP) at Oberlin. Since that time, 400 Oberlin students have completed the program and 60 are currently participating, developing leadership skills and contributing to the local community through service. The Oberlin College Bonner Scholars Program’s 30th Anniversary Celebration will bring together current scholars, alumni, community partners, members of the Bonner Foundation, and past program staff throughout spring 2023, to reflect on and celebrate achievements, lessons learned, and future directions.

Whether you're new or have been part of our efforts since the beginning, we hope you will join us as we mark this exciting milestone. All are welcome to visit the Bonner Center and experience our Bonner Scholar Program 30th Anniversary exhibit. The exhibit showcases our history and stories.

Program Description 

Created to provide underrepresented and first-generation students with “access to education and opportunity to serve,” the Bonner Scholars Program is a four-year community service scholarship program offered by Oberlin College in collaboration with the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation. This program supports students who are committed to community service through scholarship funding to help finance their college education and through a developmentally staged mentorship program that helps them develop as leaders and change agents in the local community and beyond. Scholars are expected to commit to about 10 hours of service per week with a program-approved 501 C3 nonprofit, NGO, or public sector agency during the academic year, and must complete two, internship quality summers of service, each consisting of 280 hours. Through a competitive application process, 15 incoming first-year students are selected for the scholarship each year. Successful candidates will have a strong interest in community service and high financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.

For more information about the program, contact Gabby Valentine, director of the Bonner Scholars Program or Evyn Lundy, coordinator of the Bonner Scholars Program.

Bonner Scholar Expectations

  • Completion of 140 community service hours per semester (approximately 10 hours per week);

  • Active participation in enrichment, training, and reflection activities planned by Oberlin College, the Bonner Scholars, and program staff;

  • Completion of two summers of service, each consisting of 280 community service hours.

First Year
  • A few days before Oberlin College's orientation for new and transfer students, attend the Bonner Program orientation (meals and housing provided)
  • Enroll in and complete LEAD 105: Introduction to Bonner (course credit offered)
  • Attend the first-year trip during spring break
Sophomore Year
  • Attend the sophomore exchange (event changes year to year)
  • Attend the sophomore recommitment meeting
Senior Year
  • Prepare and present a senior presentation of learning reflecting on your Bonner and Oberlin experiences. 

Bonner Scholar Benefits

Bonner Scholars are eligible to receive up to $21,500 over four years and become part of a national civic engagement network.

  • A stipend of $3,000 for the academic year ($1,500 each semester)
  • Individualized mentorship and 1:1 meetings with staff advisors
  • Drop in student leader hours

  • $4,500 to support first summer of service
  • $4,500 to support second summer of service
  • A third stipend of $500 is also available for rising seniors to pursue an additional optional summer of service

  • Domestic and international group service trip opportunities
  • Access to the national Bonner Foundation support network
  • Opportunity to apply for the Bonner Community Fund (up to $500 annually)