Beinecke Scholarship Overview


Beinecke Library History and Purpose: Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke were born in New York City in the late 1880's, linked from their earliest years by a deep affection, shared interests, and complementary, though different talents and personalities. Together they assumed the leadership of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company in the 1920’s and it grew from a small enterprise to a Fortune 500 company by 1975. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, given to Yale University by them and their families in 1963, stands as a symbol of the bond that persisted among them. William Sperry Beinecke, the eldest son of Frederick, served the company until 1980. An ardent advocate for business support of charitable and educational institutions, he guided the creation of the foundation that is now The Sperry Fund. In 1971, at his request, the Sperry and Hutchinson board established the Beinecke Scholarship Program in memory of Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. Since 1975, Beinecke Scholarships have awarded substantial scholarships for young people of exceptional promise for graduate study.

Award description: Beinecke Scholarships support pursuit of a research-based master's or doctoral degree anywhere in the world in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Law, business, or professional school programs (such as social work, journalism, clinical psychology, neuroscience, or architecture, for instance) are not included. Beinecke scholars are selected from among approximately 125 students nominated by participating undergraduate institutions. In 2018, 20 new scholarships were awarded.

Funding details: Beinecke scholars receive a total of $34,000 in support. An initial payment of $4,000 is awarded directly to the student prior to their entering graduate school. This award is intended to offset expenses related to the graduate application process, and to pay for any travel expenses directly related to the start of graduate school. While in graduate school, Beinecke scholars receive an additional $30,000 in support. These funds are awarded as a supplement to support provided by the graduate school and may be spread over five years to comply with institutional limits on the total amount of a student's annual award. In the absence of institutional support or limits scholars may receive a maximum award of $15,000 per year. These funds are sent directly to the financial aid officer of the institution where the student is enrolled and are disbursed in accordance with the scholarship policy of the academic instition.

Eligibility: Applicant must have demonstrated superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement and personal promise during his or her undergraduate career (a GPA of at least 3.7 is expected); be a college junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree (“Junior” means a student who plans to continue full-time undergraduate study and who expects to receive a baccalaureate degree between December 2022 and August 2023); plan to enter a research-based master’s or doctoral program in the arts, humanities or social sciences no later than one year after graduation from college; have a history of demonstrated financial need; be a United States citizen or a United States national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; have a documented history of receiving need-based financial aid during his or her undergraduate years. (Scholars who receive an NSF, Ford, Rhodes, Gates or similar cholarship may postpone receipt of the Beinecke funding within the five-year period following graduation. Truman Scholars cannot also accept the Beinecke.

How to apply

Juniors must apply through the Amherst campus process, which includes receiving guidance from the Office of Fellowships on essays and other materials; supplying transcripts; and requesting recommendation letters to be submitted by the internal deadline. Candidates should not complete an application without first discussing their academic credentials as well as financial need with the Director of Fellowships. Applications are reviewed by the campus Committee on Student Fellowships, who will decide whom to endorse as the Amherst College nominee to the Beinecke Scholarship Program. The endorsed candidate will have a brief period to revise application materials as advised, and request that recommenders send hard copies of letters, on letterhead and signed to the Office.  The Director of Fellowships will send the complete application in hard copy to the Beinecke Scholarship Program by the national deadline. Endorsement: Amherst may endorse one candidate.

Application materials: The Beinecke application includes a personal statement of 1,000 words or less from the nominee describing their background, interests, plans for graduate study, and career aspirations; a current resume; three letters of recommendation from faculty members (not staff or work supervisors); official transcripts; and supplemental materials if appropriate. See our Beinecke Application page for details.

For Recommenders

Content: Beinecke candidates should have clearly defined academics interests and potential for graduate study. Selectors are interested in assessing the nominee's intellectual curiosity, character, and potential for advanced graduate study. Recommendation letters which speak to a candidate's ability for achievement within their graduate program will be most helpful. If you have been asked to write a recommendation letter for a Beinecke candidate you may find our Suggestions for Recommendation Writers to be helpful. Beinecke asks recommenders to respond to these questions in their letters:

(1) How does the candidate's academic ability compare to their peers?
(2) Why is the candidate's focus of research unique or important?
(3) How is the candidate particularly well-suited to pursue this research (academic strength, research experience, other factors)?
(4) Why are the graduate schools identified by the candidate a good fit for the candidate and their research interests?

Format and submission: Letters should be typed and printed on institutional letterhead and signed, then uploaded to the AC Student and Postgraduate portal by January 27th, in response to an email which will come from the portal.  Please do not upload locked/secured letters. Due to the limitations of the application portal they make the entire application inaccessible to reviewers. If the candidate is endorsed, we will request that you send a hard copy to the Office of Fellowships which we will forward to the foundation.

Beinecke Foundation website 

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536,
Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, 213 Converse Hall, Amherst, MA 01002
Eric Myers, Associate Director, Fellowships

Amherst's most recent Beinecke Scholars are Enoch Shin '21, Yvonne Green '17, Keri Lambert '13, Andrew Werner '10, Calista McRae '09, and Benjamin Lockwood '08.