The Blunt Scholar: The Riley-Fitch – McKinney Scholarship

for Free Thinking, Creative Expression and Independent Journalism

This scholarship is directed toward students with an interest in creative writing and courageous reporting. Established by the Blunt Group of 1976 in honor of their faculty mentors, Noel Riley-Fitch and Michael David McKinney, the scholarship and annual lectureship seeks to foster free thinking and creative expression in the Christian college context.

The “Bluntees” as they were known, were non-conformist, idealistic, cynical yet justice-oriented students who published an underground newspaper called “The Blunt” in 1975-1976 after the official student newspaper, “The Point” was censored and closed down by administration officials.  (More about the views and activities of this “radical student” group can be read in the book, For Zion’s Sake: A History of Point Loma Nazarene University by Ronald Kirkemo

Current and past recipients of the Scholarship shall be termed “Blunt Scholars”

The purpose of the Blunt Scholarship is to support witty, gifted and idealistic students with a radical edge who write and publish their works. The ideal candidate will be someone with intellectual curiosity, who is well-read, socially conscious, and who has formed opinions and beliefs that challenge the status quo. Candidates should feel a sense of responsibility to the larger community and have thought about their relationship to it.

Eligibility Criteria

Journalism majors or minors are prime candidates for this scholarship, but other students with writing talent may also fit the profile and purpose of the scholarship program. Application can be made by any student currently attending classes at PLNC who had a grade point average of 3.5 or greater during the preceding quarter.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must submit a published writing of their own and a one to three page personal essay, along with at least two letters of recommendation from faculty members and/or fellow students. The essay and letters should describe, with appropriate wit, creativity or sarcasm, how the applicant fits the image of the Blunt Scholar and would fulfill the purpose of the scholarship program.  The selection committee considers a published writing to be a work published in any non-professional or professional forum, including high school and college works; the venue in which the work was published should be referenced. 

Entry date

Applications shall be submitted to the Faculty Advisor by January 15th, who will forward the applications to the Selection Committee on or before February 1st of each year. Selection will take place prior to April 1st, and an award will be presented at commencement each year. The scholarship shall be applied to the immediate academic year following the award and will be paid at the start of the fall term.

Faculty Advisor

A current member of the faculty at PLNC approved by the selection committee will act as the Faculty Advisor to the Selection Committee. The faculty advisor will receive applications, copy them and disperse them by email or direct mail to the selection committee members. The faculty advisor will notify the selection committee members of the winning recipient each year and arrange for the presentation of the award.

The Selection Committee

The Selection Committee shall consist of original Bluntees and alumni Blunt Scholars who meet one of the following two criteria: 1) shall have made contributions totaling $1000 or more toward the scholarship fund, or 2) a contribution of at least $50 in the preceding calendar year. Scholarship recipients become eligible alumni upon graduation.

Method of Selection

The selection committee members shall read the entries and vote for their first and second choices for winner. If the voting member feels no entrant is suitable for a first or second place vote, they can vote “No entrant” for either or both choices. An entrant (including a “No entrant” vote) receives 2 points for each first place vote and 1 point for each second place vote. The entrant with the highest total wins. In case of tie, the entrant with the most first place votes win. If the “No entrant” vote wins, the scholarship is not awarded that year.

Use of funds

Scholarship money can be applied to tuition and on-campus room-and-board fees.

 Modifications to the Scholarship

Any changes in the scholarship program must be approved by the Selection Committee.