South Dearborn’s Slayback Declines Scholarship to Attend College Out of State

LAWRENCEBURG, INDIANA, FERUARY 22, 2023 – Caitlyn Dick received the surprise of a lifetime today when the Dearborn Community Foundation, Inc. (DCF) awarded her the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship (LECS) for 2023. The East Central High School senior, who was one of six LECS finalists in Dearborn County, had learned in mid-December 2022 that she did not win the one of the two full-tuition scholarships awarded by DCF.

Caitlyn Dick

In December, DCF awarded 2023 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships to East Central High School’s Elizabeth Kirchgassner and South Dearborn High School’s Ava Slayback.

What Dick didn’t know is that Slayback had another opportunity for a full-tuition scholarship at an out-of-state college. Slayback recently decided to decline the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship to attend Mount Saint Joseph University, Cincinnati.

When Slayback declined the scholarship, the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) scholarship guidelines for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship kicked into gear. The guidelines call for DCF to also select a first and second alternate in case a student, like Slayback, chooses to decline the scholarship.

Dick was the first alternate approved by the DCF Board of Directors based on her scoring in the scholarship selection process. Annually 147 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships are awarded in Indiana and, according to ICI, Dick is among about 5-8 students annually who are awarded the scholarship after other students choose to decline it. The most common reason for a student to decline the scholarship is because they have chosen to attend an out-of-state college. The LECS recipients must attend an Indiana college.

Dick, who learned the great news from DCF Executive Director Fred McCarter today during a surprise visit to her high school, receives full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars may also participate in the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN), which connects scholars with resources and opportunities to be active leaders on their campuses and in their communities. The scholarship program and LSN are supported by grants from Lilly Endowment to ICI and Indiana Humanities, respectively.

“Caitlyn is fine young woman who was selected among an excellent group of applicants for the high honor of receiving the Lilly scholarship,” McCarter said. “It’s great to know that both young women will be attending college on a full-tuition scholarship. Our community should be very proud.” 

Dick, the daughter of Blake and Kelly Dick, West Harrison, plans to study Veterinary Medicine, but is undecided on a college. Learning that she received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship only weeks after being told she did not win the scholarship was clearly a huge surprise.

“I’m totally shocked,” said Dick. “I really don’t know what to say. It’s amazing.”

Dick said she has been considering two or three colleges, including Purdue University. Being awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship certainly will play a role in her decision on where to attend college. “This certainly sways my decision of where I want to go,” she said smiling.

At East Central High School, Dick is an all-conference and all-academic soccer player and team captain. She’s also a varsity basketball player. She participated in AOK (Acts of Kindness group). She shadowed/volunteered at Bright Veterinary Clinic. Dick also found time to work as a soccer referee for youth club soccer.

Slayback, Lawrenceburg, is the daughter of Chastity Barrett and Matt Slayback. She plans to study Nursing at Mounty Saint Joseph University. After being awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, it took her college options to a completely different level, said Slayback.

“Winning the Lilly created a new thought process for me,” said Slayback. “With that being said, I decided to attend Mount Saint Joseph University as I’ve had the opportunity to receive a full-tuition Presidential Scholarship. … Knowing the Lilly scholarship will go to another deserving student made my decision-making much easier. I wish the absolute best for the new Lilly recipient!”

Lilly Endowment Inc. created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-1999 school year and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling more than $486 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception. The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Since 1997, Independent Colleges of Indianahas administered the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program statewide with funding provided by Lilly Endowment. Founded in 1948, ICI serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ over 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of over $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates, and ICI institutions produce 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees while enrolling 20 percent of its undergraduates.