Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative

Scholarships bring amazing engineers to Illinois.

In 2012, in partnership with The Grainger Foundation, we launched an ambitious initiative to raise $100 million in endowment support with a special emphasis on unrestricted scholarships. Our generous community of donors allowed us to reach that goal in 2020.

The Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative has paved the way for hundreds of deserving students every year. The Grainger Foundation and our network of donors made EVS students' dreams of becoming scientists and engineers a reality. 

The Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative attracts the brightest students, ensures a diverse and talented class, and helps reduce debt. We place a particular focus on highly qualified students from the state of Illinois.

Your gift is the catalyst for access to education, nurturing ambition, and for turning passions into possibilities. Your investment changes lives.

2021 Impact Report

Support from alumni and friends allows the college to put our students first. You are a part of a community of donors whose cumulative support has been invested in an endowment that provides the most flexible scholarship funding for our students. Over 2,500 Engineering Visionary Scholarships (EVS) have been awarded to Grainger Engineers since the inception of the EVS Initiative in July 2012.

How has philanthropic support made a difference?

  • There have been many unknowns during the pandemic but the consistent support of EVS funds has helped immeasurably. While some of the non-EVS funds that comprise our scholarship budget tightened due to the pandemic, we were able to make up the difference thanks to the flexibility of EVS. Your support was essential to ensuring none of our existing scholarship students lost or saw a decrease in funding and allowed us to remain competitive to potential incoming students.

  • Gifts to EVS of all sizes are pooled and endowed, maximizing our ability to flexibly distribute ample scholarship awards. In fact, more than half of EVS gifts are $100 or less – proving every gift can transform the student experience.

  • Thanks to philanthropic support, larger scholarships can be distributed more consistently to students every year. Engineering Visionary Scholarships will last into perpetuity, allowing alumni and friends of the college to continue to donate to EVS funds and help generations of Grainger Engineers.


View the Report

“After graduating in 2018, I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to research the upcycling of plastic waste into material for 3D printing in the United Arab Emirates. Once I concluded with the program, I stayed in the country to pursue a master’s degree in materials science at Khalifa University. I graduated with high honors this summer, and I will go back to my alma mater to continue my studies. This Fall, I will start my Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Nancy Sottos.

Receiving the Engineering Visionary Scholarship allowed me to access opportunities that had a significant and long-lasting impact on my life. Since the age of 18, I have been entirely independent economically. When I started my studies at a community college in Chicago, I used to work two jobs while attending college. However, when I transferred to UIUC, having financial support from scholarships reduced my outside workload. Thanks to this, I looked for paid research opportunities in my field of interest.

Thank you to the donors who allowed me to discover my full potential and passion for sustainable materials. I believe that my case is not unique; there is a lot of untapped potential that might never be found. Therefore, it is imperative to continue supporting such programs.”

Edgar Mejia, Class of 2018

More Student Stories

The Grainger Foundation's Commitment

The Grainger College of Engineering is named in honor of distinguished alumnus William W. Grainger, who founded the Fortune 500 industrial supply company W. W. Grainger in 1927. Our name reflects The Grainger Foundation’s unprecedented and unwavering support, totalling more than $300 million, to drive engineering entrepreneurship and innovation. It is the largest contribution ever to a public university to name a college of engineering, and we are honored to spread our global impact with the Grainger name.

This investment in the college’s bold vision creates endless opportunities for our students, faculty, and researchers that can be seen across our engineering campus—in the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, Everitt Laboratory, the Grainger Library and Information Center, the Grainger Chair in Electrical Engineering, and an endowment in support of engineering research.

Learn more about the Grainger Foundation's commitment →