Seymour senior named 2021 Lilly scholar


A Jackson County student has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

Ellie Cornn, a senior at Seymour High School, was awarded the scholarship. She is the daughter of Holly and Bret Cornn of Seymour. Ellie’s career interests include health science, with an interest in pediatrics, physical therapy and nursing.

This scholarship, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered locally by the Community Foundation of Jackson County, provides full tuition, required fees and a book stipend of up to $900 per year for up to four years of undergraduate study at any Indiana public or private college or university.

“Ellie was selected from a group of outstanding applicants from all six high schools in Jackson County,” foundation Vice President Sue Smith said.

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With the selection of Cornn, there are now 40 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars from Jackson County, with the first recipient selected in 1998. During the 2021-2022 academic year, there will be four Jackson County Lilly Scholars on college campuses throughout the state of Indiana.

Cornn was among 119 seniors from Jackson County high schools to apply for the scholarship this year. Criteria for selection included academic achievement, school and community activities showing depth of involvement and leadership, and employment showing time management and a desire to help oneself.

Additional criteria included advanced placement and honors classes taken in high school, a required essay and some evidence of financial need.

After the foundation’s scholarship committee narrowed the field, finalists’ names were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana Inc., the statewide administrator of the scholarship program, for the final selection of the recipient. Independent Colleges of Indiana is a nonprofit corporation that represents 30 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

Lilly Endowment Inc. has provided more than $424 million in grant support for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program since its inception in 1998.

Administered statewide by Independent Colleges of Indiana Inc. with local support from Indiana community foundations, 4,912 Indiana high school students have been awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

“The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Indiana students reach higher levels of education” Smith said. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are to:

  • Help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana.
  • Increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities.
  • Encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

Increasing educational attainment among Jackson County residents is an important part of the Foundation’s mission to help grow better tomorrows, said Dan Davis, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County.

“Concern about the education levels here was a key factor when the Foundation brought other partners from across the county together to establish the Jackson County Learning Center, and we remain committed to that goal,” Davis said. “It is certainly part of our guiding efforts in administering scholarship funds entrusted to the foundation.”

The foundation’s efforts to improve educational opportunities extends beyond programs focused on college, including support of the Jackson County Education Coalition’s On My Way Pre-K pilot program for 4-year-olds and the encouragement of workforce development in partnership with Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. and others.

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The Community Foundation of Jackson County offers endowment services, gift planning, charitable gift annuities and scholarship administration. For information or to make a donation, call 812-523-4483.


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