The Harold Conner Scholars Program is designed to aid high-performing students in their endeavors to obtain a college education. The program seeks to provide a holistic schedule of activities to increase the retention of these outstanding students, as well as encouraging them to share their many talents with the University community.
The scholarship program is named in honor of Rev. Harold Conner, the first African-American administrator at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Following the example set by Rev. Conner, students are required to maintain both the highest levels of academic performance and a strong record of service to the University and/or the community.
The goal of the HCS Program is to provide the program participants with the tools necessary for success in whatever field they choose to study. The primary focus is on the long-term needs of the students, so students are exposed to leadership development opportunities, professional development workshops and other activities that supplement in-class learning.
Harold Conner was a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents and an ordained Baptist minister. He was the first black administrator to be employed by UT Martin after it was desegregated in 1969. He first served the university as Assistant Dean of Students and then Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. During his tenure, Reverend Conner was instrumental in the formation of many campus organizations and programs that still play significant roles on the UTM campus, including the Black Student Association (BSA), Freshman Studies, the Highest Praise Gospel Choir, and the Peer Enabler Program (PEP).
Reverend Conner retired from the university in 1981. He was the first recipient of the Black Student Association's annual Legacy Award for his achievements at UTM. Reverend Conner passed away on October 15, 2017.
UTM offers a scholarship in his name, the Harold Conner Scholarship, which is designed to offer financial assistance to those students who show academic promise. The selective scholarship is a $2,000 per academic year award that requires entering freshmen to have a minimum high school GPA of 3.25 and ACT score of 21 (or SAT equivalent).
Participation in the Harold Conner Scholars Program is open to high school graduates from the state of Tennessee who attends the University of Tennessee at Martin. To qualify for the program, incoming freshmen must have a minimum ACT score of 21 (SAT 970) and a 3.25 high school grade point average. With acceptance into the program comes a renewable scholarship award. The award is based on the student's high school academic and leadership records, as well as achievement tests scores. The maximum award is $3,000 per academic year. Students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) to determine student need and eligibility for the financial awards offered at the University.