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The Marian Spencer Scholarship Program

It’s alive in our best and brightest. Marian's tenacity echoes and reverberates within the hearts of a new generation of torch-bearers, ready and willing to continue the fight. And for those who have what it takes, we have your launchpad.

University of Cincinnati is proud to partner with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to offer the Marian Spencer Scholarship Program, exclusively granting CPS students the opportunity to pursue their dreams of higher education without any barriers. Selected scholars will carry on the legacy of Marian Spencer, a beloved UC alumna who fought fearlessly for civil rights and racial justice.

The Spencer Scholarship builds a runway for underrepresented students at UC who will have an incredible opportunity to launch their academic and professional careers from our campus.

UC President Neville Pinto

Make a donation to the Marian Spencer Scholarship program and help future scholars carry on the legacy of Marian Spencer.

UC alumna Marian Spencer with UC President Nevile Pinto.

UC alumna Marian Spencer with UC President Nevile Pinto.

Reach. Rise. Roar.

In 2021, a $6 million investment made it possible for the Marian Spencer Scholarship to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders. The scholarship is part of UC’s ongoing commitment to CPS, fostering success in CPS students and, in turn, building a stronger, more inclusive Cincinnati.

Scholars are granted full tuition, housing and food in UC’s Marian Spencer Hall, among the following opportunities:

  • Additional support for study abroad, co-op and summer opportunities
  • Study abroad trip to Tanzania with Village Life
  • Enhanced advising support, student success resources and career coaching
  • Networking and mentoring opportunities with UC's President and other university leaders
  • Service project with CPS students in future years

Eligible students are in the top 10% (15% for Walnut Hills High School) of their senior class and must apply for UC admission by December 1 for consideration.

Marian Spencer Hall

Marian Spenser Hall, elevated view

Marian Spencer Hall

Marian Spencer Hall brings scholars and honor students together in a living-learning community, allowing them to excel alongside like-minded peers.

“The best thing about the Marian Spencer Scholarship is being able to already have nine other people, and I know them on a personal level. They have a lot of the same goals and ambitions as me.” – Marcus Elliot, inaugural Marian Spencer Scholar

The hall represents a significant full-circle moment for Marian Spencer, as she initially was not allowed to live on campus but fought tirelessly to achieve educational equity.

CPS Strong

We know our city is only as strong as our public school system, which is why CPS Strong works to establish an institution-wide model to engage and empower CPS students. By aligning programs and services to ensure readiness, create access, and foster success, we can achieve educational transformation and positively impact the future of our university and our city.

“It’s an honor to be a Marian Spencer Scholar, to represent her name, given all she’s done for this city as a Black woman, it’s a blessing.” – Nia McGlothin, inaugural Marian Spencer Scholar

“You’ve got to have spirit. You’ve got to be unafraid. Because how else can you venture?”

—Marian Spencer

The Spirit of Spencer

Spencer had an undying love for UC and the city of Cincinnati, despite the barriers she faced early on. Her fight for equality began as a UC student campaigning for an inclusive prom. Moving forward, she worked tirelessly to end racial isolation in schools and beyond, even going on to chair legal action to desegregate Coney Amusement Park after her two young sons were denied admittance.

Spencer made her mark on the entire city and successfully conquered many “firsts”. She was the first Black member of The National Honors Society, the first female president of the NAACP, the first Black female Cincinnati city council member, the first Black president of the Cincinnati Woman’s club, the first Black female Cincinnati vice mayor, and the first statue named after a woman in Cincinnati.  

She was a community leader, civil rights legend and undeniably boldly Bearcat. Today, her legacy lives on through her scholarship, giving students who have what it takes the chance to continue the fight.

Headshot of Cindy Jones

Cindy Jones

Marian Spencer Scholars, Program Director

University of Cincinnati Enrollment Management Services

(513) 556-7825


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