McKillip is Nebraska's second Presidential Scholar recruit

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McKillip is Nebraska’s second Presidential Scholar recruit

Lillias McKillip celebrated her signing on as UNL's second Presidential Scholar with (from left) her sister, Bea; parents, Austin and Jessica; Tanner Penrod, principal, Southeast High School; Gov. Jim Pillen; Chris Kabourek, interim NU president; and Tim Clare, regent, of Lincoln.
Lillias McKillip (fifth from left) celebrated her signing on as UNL's second Presidential Scholar with family and representatives from Lincoln Southeast High School, University of Nebraska and Gov. Jim Pillen.

Team Nebraska has landed its second 5-star academic recruit with a commitment from Lincoln Southeast High School senior Lillias McKillip to attend the University of Nebraska–Lincoln this fall.

McKillip scored a perfect 36 on the ACT and signed with Nebraska under the Presidential Scholars Program, a new scholarship announced last month by Gov. Jim Pillen and university leaders that covers the total cost of undergraduate attendance at the University of Nebraska plus a $5,000 annual stipend.

McKillip plans to study elementary education and Spanish, with a dream of becoming a teacher. She celebrated her commitment during a March 8 signing ceremony at Southeast High with her parents Austin and Jessica; sister Bea; Tanner Penrod, principal; school staff; Gov. Pillen; Chris Kabourek, interim president of the University of Nebraska; and Tim Clare, NU regent.

McKillip is the second Presidential Scholar to sign with Nebraska this week, following a commitment from Pender senior Caleb Kelly on March 5 to enroll at UNL this fall and study computer science and physics.

“It’s one thing all Nebraskans agree on: You are the future,” Gov. Pillen told Lillias at the signing ceremony. “We want to make sure we do everything we can to help our most talented and successful students. We couldn’t be more proud of you, and thank you for answering the call to become a teacher.”

Kabourek said Nebraska is the big winner of the week.

“This is what the President’s Scholarship is all about: Keeping our best and brightest students right here in Nebraska,” Kabourek said. “Lillias is going to do great things in her future. I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her to the University of Nebraska and to have this special opportunity to celebrate with her and her wonderful family.”

At Southeast, Lillias participates in speech, plays cello in the chamber orchestra, and runs track and field. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has long been her dream school as her mom and dad are Husker alumni who studied agribusiness and agricultural economics, respectively. But she was considering Tulsa, where she also was offered a full ride scholarship.

The President’s Scholarship helped give Nebraska the edge.

“It makes me proud to be the first student from Lincoln to receive the President’s Scholarship,” McKillip said, thanking her teachers at Southeast who inspired her to pursue teaching as a career. Her parents, principal and counselor praised McKillip’s high character, humility and natural leadership abilities among her fellow students.

“Lillias is an amazing young woman, and I am so pleased that she has chosen to become a Presidential Scholar – staying at home to continue her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,” said Chancellor Rodney D. Bennett. “I look forward to welcoming her to campus this fall.

“Whenever another of Nebraska’s best and brightest choose the state’s flagship, Big Ten university, the student wins, UNL wins and the state of Nebraska wins.”

Regent Clare echoed the enthusiasm for Nebraska competing successfully for its homegrown talent: “Every day is a great day to be a Nebraskan.”

The Presidential Scholars Program provides a full cost of attendance scholarship – tuition, fees, books, housing and all other costs – plus a $5,000 annual stipend, to Nebraska students who scores a perfect 36 on the ACT. The scholarship may be used for undergraduate study at any University of Nebraska campus.

The goal of the program is to advance the governor’s vision to make Nebraska more competitive for its best and brightest young people. The university’s goal is to raise the private funds necessary to expand the program to cover Nebraska students who score a 33 or above on the ACT.

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