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A Dell Scholars student stands in his cap and gown on graduation day

Welcoming Tomorrow’s Leaders to the Dell Scholars Program

Todd Penner

Today, we welcome our 18th class of Dell Scholars. As this new class of students embarks on a college education against the backdrop of the pandemic, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate this tremendous feat. Nothing fills me with greater optimism than seeing these future leaders take their rightful places on college campuses across the country. I hope you will be similarly inspired by their determination and sense of purpose.

In the shadow of the pandemic, pursuing a college degree is an act of incredible resolve and profound hope. Our new class of Dell Scholars has already demonstrated so much resilience and commitment to the journey ahead. They are dealing with the COVID-enhanced financial struggles facing them and their families, the uncertainty of how long college will stay online, and the daunting task of finding part-time employment to help cover their college expenses. And yet, they are determined to better their lives, no matter what it takes.

Our Dell Scholars are entering college at a time that has reinforced the value of higher education. Bachelor’s degree holders have experienced greater job security and lower rates of unemployment when compared to those with a high school education, especially during economic recessions. College graduates also have greater earning potential, amounting to approximately $1 million more over the course of a lifetime. In a competitive post-pandemic economy, graduates will be well-served by the differentiator of a college degree.

A professional pathway can lead to greater prosperity for a family. It can also provide the relationships, the skills, and the platform for individuals to make their mark on the world. The pandemic has also underscored the need to bring together our brightest minds to solve societal challenges. Today’s college students will be among the leaders working to protect our health, strengthen the economy, address climate change, and fight for racial equity. It’s not a role for the faint of heart.

Taking on these challenges will take courage, grit, and a vision for a brighter future — and that’s exactly why our Dell Scholars are ideally suited for the job. In the meantime, the Dell Scholars team is here to support their journeys through college graduation and beyond.