John Gries earns Lilly Endowment scholarship


With years of effort that have included excellent grades and numerous activities, senior John Gries earned a Lilly Endowment Scholarship.

He is now able to attend any public or private four- year college in Indiana with fully paid tuition along with funds for required fees and a stipend for books. Gries intends to pursue mechanical engineering at Rose Hulman, which is a private university in Terre Haute that averages $39,000 per year.

“The Lilly Scholarship has confirmed where I want to go to school, assuming that I do get admitted to Rose Hulman. I will probably end up double majoring with either electrical or software engineering,” Gries said.

The Lilly scholarship equips recipients with the ability to choose where they would like to study without the worry of finances. The Lilly Endowment created the program for the 1998-1999 school year and has awarded tuition grants totaling more than $439 million since then.

“The Lilly scholarship has given me more freedom financially to go wherever I want to college. It also gives me something good on my CV, curriculum vitae. It will probably help me with more scholarship money for the future, too,” Gries said.

The application process was extensive.

“I had to complete a very long application. I had to write three essays and find people who were willing to write recommendations for me. When I was selected, I had to go in and interview. There were six finalists and three that actually received the scholarship,” Gries said.

The interview portion was challenging, too.

“The interviewing process was very stressful. I did a mock interview at school with some of the administration first. That was a little stressful because there were four people in the room, but when I went to the actual interview, there were 10 people, which was more stressful. The actual interview lasted about half an hour. After that, I was relieved to be done, but that was almost more stressful because then I had to wait to find out if I got the scholarship or not,” Gries said.

The overall goal of the Lilly Endowment scholarship is to inspire students to build their careers in Indiana. These scholars are challenged to network with each other and get involved with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana.

“I will definitely try to stay within the state of Indiana because that is kind of the goal of the Lilly scholarship — to keep people nearby,” Gries said.