The Bonner Scholars Program is a community service-based scholarship program. Currently, there are 24 collegiate Bonner programs across the country (Bonner Scholars Program). To earn this scholarship, Bonner Scholars are obligated to fulfill various service requirements through their years at their respective colleges. Berry College was one of the first schools to adopt the Bonner Program, founded in 1990 by Corella and Bertram F. Bonner (Bonner Scholars Program Handbook 2). Berry's Bonner Scholars Program is headquartered in Evans Hall, on the main campus.

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The Bonner Foundation was established in 1990 by its funders, Corella and Bertram F. Bonner (Bonner Scholars Program Handbook 2) in Princeton, New Jersey (Marvine). With an initial commitment of $100 million, the Foundation had originally two main purposes: to fund meals for churches under a crisis-ministry program and to provide scholarships at liberal arts colleges (Marvine). Berry College became one of the first schools to participate in the program in 1991, sending its scholars to various community service partners in Rome and Floyd County. Notable achievements include giving 21,000 hours of service during the 2007-2008 academic year (Bonner Scholars Program Handbook 2).


The Bonner scholarship is an award based on an application and completion of service requirements, as well as demonstration of financial need. The mission of the program is to make college available to students who require financial support, as well as to encourage students to provide meaningful service during school and make it a part of life.
Scholars focus on the needs of the disabled, the elderly, the hungry, homeless, in addition to the environment. They are encouraged to raise awareness of various issues on campus and encourage other students to give up their time and take part (Bonner Scholars Program Handbook 2).

Scholarship Requirements

Scholars are required to participate in service as well as various events and activities conducted by the Bonner Office for Community Engagement. Scholars complete 140 hours of community service per semester; in addition, students must complete 280 hours of community service during each of two Summers in domestic or international internships (Bonner Scholars Program). Service opportunities for scholars include local non-profits, governmental agencies, and schools in the Rome-Floyd County community, including the Boys and Girls Club, the Northwest Georgia Red Cross, Mercy Senior Care, and others (Bonner Scholars Program).

In addition to their service requirements, scholars must attend a retreat at the beginning of each semester which outlines changes in the program, recent events, and recent additions to the Bonner group. Bonners also must attend weekly or biweekly class meetings, six “reflection” meetings, and several “issue-based” meetings. “Reflection” groups highlight cultural themes relevant to service, and “issue-based” meetings incorporate current events and global issues of inequity, poverty, etc., eventually leading to service plunges and presentations at yearly symposiums (Bonner Scholars Program Handbook 7).

Scholars are also required to participate in a service trip after their freshman year to a location differing from the Rome/Floyd County area. Sophomores are responsible for Exchange Events, aimed at exposing Berry’s Bonner scholars to the rest of the Bonner community. The events usually consist of leadership and team-building training and activities (Bonner Scholars Program Handbook 9).

Program Staff

The Bonner Program employs the work of both a director and coordinator, responsible for relationships with community partners. There is also the Bonner Leadership Team, a group of students who serve as mentors for other scholars and as liaisons between the scholars and Berry’s administration and staff.

Works Cited

"Bonner Scholars Program." Berry College. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Howe, Marvine. "Bertram Bonner, 93, A Realty Developer And a Philanthropist." New York Times [New York, NY] 19 May 1993: n. pag. The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 May 1993. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Bonner Scholars Program Handbook. Mount Berry: Bonner Center for Community Engagement, 2007. Print.