Five Salem State students named Tsongas Scholars

2011 Salem State Tsongas Scholars

In a packed April 8 State House ceremony attended by Thaleia Tsongas Schlesinger, sister of the late Senator Paul Tsongas, State Auditor Suzanne Bump, Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland, and many other dignitaries, five Salem State University students were among the 60 students statewide who were recognized for their academic talents and dedication by being named Tsongas Scholars. The Tsongas Scholarships cover full tuition and fees at any of the nine campuses of the Massachusetts State University System.

Salem State students receiving Tsongas Scholarships are junior Colleen Kelly of Lowell; junior Alexander MacLeod of Danvers; sophomore Megan Savage of Melrose; sophomore Laurence Swasey of Lynnfield; and sophomore Samantha Tracey of Bridgewater. They were accompanied to the State House by Salem State University president Patricia Maguire Meservey and co-chairs of the university’s Commonwealth Honors Program Michelle Pierce and Joanna Gonsalves.

“Tsongas Scholars are among the most academically talented students in the state and we at Salem State are enormously proud of the accomplishments of our five scholarship winners,” noted Meservey.

Scholarship awards are merit-based, and financial need is not required for eligibility. Tsongas Scholarships are granted to students who graduated high school with GPAs of at least 3.75 or academic ranking in the top 10 percent of their classes. Students can receive Tsongas Scholarship funding for all four years, although to renew funding students must maintain a 3.3 GPA and meet any other requirements set by individual institutions.

The awardscover in-state tuition and mandatory fees for up to four years, which is approximately $7,338 each year.

The program was launched in 1998 by the Board of Higher Education as a tribute to the late Paul E. Tsongas, who died in 1997. It was designed to further Senator Tsongas' belief in the value of education and the importance of public colleges and universities in providing all citizens access to academic excellence. In addition to his many other contributions to the public good, Senator Tsongas once served as chair of the Massachusetts Board of Regents of Higher Education, the precursor to today's board of higher education.

Photo, from left: Michelle Pierce, Assistant Coordinator for Honors Programming and Chair of Adolescent Education & Leadership; Joanna Gonsalves, Honors program Coordinator and Associate Professor of Psychology; Colleen Kelly; Samantha Tracey; Alexander MacLeod; Megan Savage; Salem State University President Patricia Maguire Meservey. Not shown is Tsongas Scholar Laurence Swasey.