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Thea Bowman Institute for Excellence and Leadership

Thea Bowman Institute for Excellence and Leadership

The Thea Bowman Institute for Excellence and Leadership at Alverno College is a full-tuition scholarship program for Black undergraduate students with a strong desire to serve as leaders. We welcome applications from women seeking professional roles in pursuit of social change and service.

Using a cohort-based model, the Institute provides students with a dedicated advisor, an alumna mentor, exclusive networking opportunities and guaranteed internship opportunities. This program prepares graduates to confidently enter their chosen careers as solidly equipped change agents.

Imagine this Alverno graduate: 

  • A Black woman who has experienced a beloved community where she feels welcome and safe
  • A Black woman who has developed a deep sense of efficacy and agency
  • A Black woman whose voice was heard and amplified
  • A Black woman who has experienced healing, and who expresses hope and joy for the future
  • A Black woman who is fully equipped with a permanent sense of her own worth as a thinker and a doer
  • A Black woman who chooses to return to Alverno to inspire, teach, mentor and lead others
Thea Bowman Logo

Who was Sister Thea Bowman?  

Our leadership institute honors the late Thea Bowman, FSPA, Ph.D., a Black Franciscan nun from Mississippi who was educated in Wisconsin. Sister Thea held a doctorate in English and served as a professor at three universities. She gained national and international renown for her passionate advocacy for racial justice.

“I want to be in the room where it happens, and I want to be the one helping to create the change.”

- Amira, Communication Major, Class of 2024

The thrill of becoming a Bowman Scholar

Bowman Institute eligibility 

Alverno College will offer up to 20 full-tuition scholarships to Black women who meet the following criteria and exhibit a strong desire to serve as leaders in their communities:

  • High school graduate in 2023
  • Demonstrated record of academic success
  • Admissible to Alverno College
  • Clear evidence of civic and/or community engagement in high school, community and/or place of worship
  • Ability to discuss intended college major and career goals
  • Successful interview with the selection committee

Scholarships are renewable for up to four years based on full-time enrollment, satisfactory academic progress, active engagement in all program activities and opportunities, and successful progress toward four-year degree completion.

Download our Thea Bowman Institute brochure to share with others.

To apply:

  • Complete the Alverno College Admissions Application at
  • Submit your official high school transcript (You can use an online service such as Parchment)
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and include Alverno’s code: 003832
  • Complete the application below, which includes submission of an essay.
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