Kenan Excellence Scholarship

Kenan Excellence Scholarship

The Kenan Excellence Scholarship program was established at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in 2005 by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and later endowed by the Trust in 2011 with a $6 million grant, the largest one-time private gift in the school’s history. In 2019, an additional $5 million gift was provided to expand support of the scholarship program. The most prestigious scholarship program at UNCSA, the Kenan Excellence Scholarship (KES) provides full tuition, fees, and room and board for up to five incoming students each year and is renewable for all four years of undergraduate education. This scholarship is a merit-based award and for which you cannot apply.

Program Criteria

The dean of each of the five arts schools nominates two excellent candidates for the KES each Spring term from among their best new admittees to the university. The KES Selection Committee reviews each nomination, considering criteria that include each student’s ability in the given arts discipline, capacity to lead and motivate, extracurricular achievement, grade point average, and standardized test scores. The committee then interviews the finalists for selection. Awards are made to the students judged to have the best potential as artist-scholars, regardless of the program in which they enroll or their area of residence.

2020-2021 Kenan Excellence Scholars

Freshman Class:

  • Mahalet Andargachew of Louisville, Kentucky, Design & Production
  • Nathan Bowden of Santa Ana, California, Design & Production
  • Mick Buck of San Antonio, Texas, Drama
  • Ruth Kelley of Kernersville, North Carolina, Music
  • Grace Quintanilla of Katy, Texas, Drama

Sophomore Class:

  • Giovanni Castellon of Miami, Florida, Dance
  • Alyssa James of Apopka, Florida, Drama
  • Abrianna Sigel of Brewster, Massachusetts, Filmmaking

Junior Class:

  • Marta Djorović, of Belgrade, Serbia, Music
  • Belle Le of San José, California, Drama
  • Blaine McIndoe of New York, New York, Filmmaking
  • Houston Odum of Jamestown, North Carolina, Design & Production

Senior Class:

  • Josephine Greenwald of Scottsdale, Arizona, Music
  • Kelly Simpson of Anchorage, Alaska, Filmmaking
  • Sylvani Starchild-St. Clair of Eugene, Oregon, Dance


Kenan Excellence Scholars Liaison
Erin Edge
Phone: 336-726-6940
Fax: 336-770-3367

Campus Program Oversight
Patrick Sims, Provost