Hard-working. Kind. Smart. Leader. These are just a few of the words used to describe Michael Donnelly ’19 and Douglas Huff, Jr. ’19 who were named QuestBridge Scholars and will receive full four-year scholarships for their college education.
Both Donnelly and Huff are first-generation college students. Donnelly will be attending the University of Chicago and Huff will enter Northwestern University in the fall.
Founded in 1994, QuestBridge is a national nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California, that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities. By working with these students — beginning in high school through college to their first job —QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented low-income students who attend the nation’s best colleges and to support them in achieving success in their careers and communities.
Director of College Counseling Linda Gabor says, “Having two QuestBridge Scholars in one year is rare and exciting.” Saint Ignatius has had four students named scholars since 2009. Previous scholars include Teguru Tembo '09, Zachary Stepp '14, Garret Forst '15 and Didier Banyeretse '16.
“It’s a competitive process,” says College Counselor Hugh McManamon ’76. “These students have worked hard and are well-deserving.”
Huff is the vice president of Student Senate and has been the captain of the wrestling team since his sophomore year. His teachers say he is a joy to have in class.
“Douglas is greatness embodied,” English teacher Terra Caputo, Ph.D says. “His kindness, integrity, leadership, intellect, resilience, and many other talents are rendered all the more significant by his willingness to harness them in service of others.”
With the support of his friends and the Saint Ignatius community behind him, Huff recalls, “Once I was no longer in shock, the weight of college applications was lifted off my shoulders, I came to the realization that I was going to be on my way to a great university, with great opportunities, in a great city, with a great community behind me. What more could I want? The experience has been life changing thus far, and I doubt it stops here.”
Donnelly was named a National Merit Semifinalist and shows a strong passion for civil rights and social justice through his involvement in policy & debate, Model UN and Democratic Ignatians on Politics. McManamon says Donnelly displays a wide variety of interests and will be a lifelong learner.
“Michael Donnelly is without a doubt one of the most impressive great minds of his generation,” Caputo says. “He is destined for greatness, and the University of Chicago is very lucky to welcome him to the class of 2023.”
For these students, the gift of a college education is invaluable. "It was honestly surreal to find out that I wasn't going to have to worry about money at all," Donnelly says.
After receiving a record-high of 16,248 applicants this year, QuestBridge selected 6,507 finalists who were considered for the College Match Scholarship. Of those finalists, 1,044 students hailing from 47 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were selected. Only 156 students were chosen from the Midwest region.
Congratulations to these young men on their academic achievements.