The Noel Compass Scholarship (NCS) is a privately funded scholarship established to encourage and reward academic achievement, leadership, and citizenship for students of color from Wisconsin high schools attending UW-Stevens Point (UWSP). This $6,000 a year renewable scholarship is more than just a scholarship—it’s a student success program that focuses on what we call the Five Ships (Fellowship, Internship, Leadership, Mentorship, and Scholarship). Scholars are paired with a community host member or family who will help them navigate their college and life path from the moment they receive the scholarship to graduation and beyond. Additionally, scholars work with the Noel Compass Scholars Coordinator, who will coach and guide them through their years at UWSP and the NCS program experience.
The Noel Compass Scholarship (NCS) program serves Wisconsin students from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). It is grounded in the idea that through diversity, we can discover all the enlightened ideas of the world. It’s how we learn about the world around us. We believe that the best ideas and the greatest solutions come from people who actively seek out different points of view. They know that diverse viewpoints and backgrounds lead to diverse thinking that solves problems, advances discovery, and makes UWSP, our community, state, and the world, a better place.
The NCS was created to help a group of diverse, talented UWSP student leaders, carefully selected, nurtured, trained, and mentored, serve as effective campus leaders. And after graduation, they serve as leaders prepared to serve, lead, and shape the future in their workplace, career, and community. Our goal is to train these leaders of tomorrow.
The Noel Compass Scholar Program was founded by John and Patty Noel, lifelong entrepreneurs, and philanthropists, at UWSP in 1996 to identify and recruit promising diversity students from some of the most underserved and challenged high schools in Wisconsin. The program awards a yearly $6,000 scholarship to a group of new and continuing UWSP students selected in a competitive process. Additionally, the Noel Compass Scholars participate in a leadership education program that pairs scholars with a community member or family for support and fellowship, a NCS student organization that serves the campus and Stevens Point community, a career-based internship, leadership training workshops and experiences, and a NCS network of scholar alumni across the country. These programs
provide them with the tools and support they need to graduate from college and become productive, thriving citizens. In the past 25 years, ?? NCS scholars have participated in the program and ?? have earned college degrees.
Patty and John Noel, both graduates of UW-Stevens Point, founded Travel Guard, the Noel Group, and Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection and created the Noel Compass Scholar Program, a privately funded initiative specifically targeted low-income high achieving students of color from Wisconsin’s urban communities. According to former UWSP Chancellor Bernie Patterson, “John and Patty’s tireless support of humanitarian causes have transformed – and in many cases saved – the lives of thousands of individuals.”
The Noels also co-founded the Boys and Girls Club of Portage County and are major benefactors of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, including a substantial gift for the renovation of the Noel Fine Arts Center. The Noels have also been very active in the Milwaukee area, involving projects ranging from Children’s Hospital to economic development initiatives. “I’ve known John Noel for several decades,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett at the Groundbreaking for a new BMO Harris branch in the Sherman Park community. “He and his family are committed to improving the economic realities for people who live in our city. We appreciate all that John and his family have done for Milwaukee.”
John and Patty’s generosity and vision transcend Wisconsin and the United States. In 1993, the Noels established Make a Mark, a nonprofit humanitarian project that funds sustainable building projects in developing countries. The current focus is a cooperative effort with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point called Trees 4 Children, in which forestry principles are utilized to help contribute to the financial self-sustainability of a village in Kenya with over 1,000 HIV/AIDS affected children and elders.
The Noel Compass Scholarship (NCS) leadership and retention program focuses on the FIVE SHIPS— Scholarship, Internship, Mentorship, Fellowship, and Leadership. Each of these “ships” is designed to help each NCS Scholar through their journey at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, help them thrive at UWSP, become a student servant leader, and prepare them for the next chapter of their life after graduation. Scholars participate in the following activities:
Community Host Program—The Community Host Program aims to create a home away from home, meaningfully connecting scholars and community members through informal friendships between alumni, faculty, administrators, other friends of UWSP, and NCS scholars. Scholars are paired with a community member or family for periodic communication, interaction, dinners, and social events.
Internships—NCS scholars may arrange for their internship or be paired with an internship with the help of the NCS Coordinator. NCS scholars are required to have a ?? hour a week internship for each semester. Internships allow scholars to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to a professional setting. These opportunities are the perfect way to use the concepts they learn from their major to earn experience. Sometimes internships come along with academic credit or compensation.
Work Experience—We believe that there are many benefits to working part-time while in college, and those benefits aren’t all financial. Well-chosen college jobs, on and off-campus, can also help scholars gain career-specific experience. Additionally, they develop in-demand soft skills, expose students to valuable networking opportunities, and even increase graduation rates. Scholars are expected to have a job and work no more than 15 hours a week. Scholars may arrange for their work or be paired with a job with the help of the NCS Coordinator and the UWSP Campus Activities and Student Engagement Office.
NCS Student Club—NCS scholars are automatically a member of the NCS student organization. As a member, scholars will work to advance the FIVE SHIPS on campus and in the Stevens Point community and experience personal growth benefits. Scholars will:
Tailored Guidance and Advising— Scholars meet with the NCS Coordinator once a month as a group and individually every two weeks to review academic progress, student life issues, NCS activities, and important social issues identified by scholars.
The selection of a Noel Compass Scholarship (NCS) scholar is a dynamic process, and it begins with your application. If you’re a student of color and a high school senior and meet the scholarship selection criteria, you’re eligible to apply. We actively seek diversity students who are positive, motivated, talented, and ambitious, focusing on leaders in their high schools and communities, committed to their education and those who demonstrate academic potential, and interested in teamwork and diversity.
To be considered for the scholarship, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:
2023-2024 Selection Application Timeline Updated 04/04/2023
Diversity and College AccessStudent Services Center 2201108 Fremont StreetStevens Point, WI firstname.lastname@example.org | (715) 346-3225
Knowing our alumni is the best way to know more about the Noel Compass Scholarship (NCS). NCS alumni exemplify the qualities of our scholarship program. The careers of our alumni are as varied as the life stories of our alumni. What’s not varied is their demonstrated focus on making a positive difference in their family, community, and world, their dedication to serving others, commitment to personal and professional growth, respect for others, and devotion to diversity and inclusivity.
“One of the things that a scholarship does is it really gives you expectations that you wouldn’t have for yourself, and expectations that you want to live up to.”
Scholars participate in an internship, leadership workshops like the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, social and community activities and events, and an annual retreat with NCS founders John and Patty Noel.