Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Program

Dear Abby Funds New Scholarship Program for NSNCEF

Jeanne Phillips, "Dear Abby"

Jeanne Phillips, “Dear Abby”

Jeanne Phillips aka Dear Abby has announced that she will fully fund the annual scholarship program sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Education Foundation, which will now be named the “Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Program.”

Abby was inspired to fund the scholarship program after delivering a heartfelt keynote speech at NSNC’s 2016 conference in Los Angeles, California, last June. Her speech, which received a standing ovation, was during NSNC’s awards dinner, where she and her husband, Walter Harris, met the 2016 scholarship recipient, Jake Schmidt, a contributor to the Daily Texan at the University of Texas in Austin.

Abby says, “Walter and I were touched by the camaraderie of NSNC’s members and the warmth and sincerity with which they brought Schmidt into the organization’s fold.”

The scholarship program, which originated in 1999, selects three outstanding student writers from its annual college columnists contest entries. The first place winner gets $1,500 and an all-expense paid trip to the National Society of Newspaper Columnists annual conference which will be held this year in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 8-11, 2017. Second and third place winners also win certificates and awards of $250 and $100.

Abby’s annual grant will alleviate annual fundraising pressure to maintain the unendowed scholarship program. “With the decline of print and an uncertain electronic landscape in front of them, students sometimes wonder if there is a future in the kind of insightful opinion writing that inspired them to pursue journalism,” says Mike Leonard, scholarship chair for NSNCEF. “We want to encourage them to become the next Ernie Pyle, the next Kathleen Parker or Maureen Dowd, the next Dear Abby. Newspapers and media outlets are strengthened by writers who educate and provide perspective on the world around us.”

This year’s Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Contest will cover columns written between March 1, 2016, through Apri1 21, 2017. Entries must be submitted no later than April 21, 2017. Winners will be announced in May.

Eligibility, submission guidelines and online application form are available at

The contest for the Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Program is open to undergraduates (including seniors) who write bylined general interest, editorial-page or specialized (humor, sports, business, arts etc.) columns that are published in the print or online editions of college newspapers, i.e., one whose main circulation is on a university or college campus. There is no entry fee.

The NSNC Education Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit foundation [501(c)3] devoted to the education and training of new and experienced columnists everywhere. The National Society of Newspaper Columnists, founded in 1977, is the nation’s oldest and only journalism organization dedicated to advancing excellence in column-writing and writers of serial essays and blogs.

Donations are welcome. Please use the secure PayPal button, above. Or checks may be mailed to:

P.O. Box 280692
San Francisco, CA 94128
Phone: 415-691-7030

For more information about the Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Program, contact NSNCEF Scholarship Chair Mike Leonard by email at


  • Eric Heyl, president
  • Tracy Beckerman, vice president
  • Dave Lieber, secretary
  • Lisa Molinari, treasurer
  • Dr. Amy Reynolds, assistant secretary/treasurer
  • Jim Casto, at-large member
  • Mike Leonard, scholarship chair
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