Two Students Earn Opportunity to attend Framingham State University for free as the first Recipients of the Mancuso Scholarships

Two Students Earn Opportunity to attend Framingham State University for free as the first Recipients of the Mancuso Scholarships

Jun 11, 2019

Like many high school students during their college search, Olivia Renda spent a lot of time talking with her family about the debt she would face after earning her degree. So it was a surreal moment for her when she learned that she would have the opportunity to earn her degree at Framingham State for free, as one of the inaugural recipients of the Mancuso English, Humanities and Social & Behavioral Sciences Scholarships.

Renda, who is from Westminster, and Meeghan Bresnahan of Peabody, will enroll at Framingham State this fall with 100 percent of their tuition, fees, room and board covered by the scholarship during their freshman year. The two students will have the opportunity to take all four years at Framingham State at no cost, but must meet certain scholarship requirements in order to have it renewed each year.

“Finding out that I have the opportunity to graduate without any debt was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” says Renda, who will major in English and plans to become a teacher.

English Professor Halcyon Mancuso created the scholarships through a $2.5 million financial commitment to FSU that was announced in 2018. There will be two Mancuso Scholarships awarded at Framingham State every year moving forward. One will always be reserved for an English major, which is the subject Mancuso has taught for many years, and the second will rotate each year between majors in the humanities and social sciences.

Mancuso designed the scholarship opportunity with an emphasis on career-readiness. Mancuso scholars will be required to participate in at least two meaningful internships prior to graduation and also will need to complete a curriculum offered by the Office of Career Services and Employer Relations.

“We know the humanities provide the soft skills that are sought after by employers,” she says. “Our humanities majors need to understand this and learn how to talk about these skills in the language of business.”

Bresnahan, who will major in History and is interested in one day working in a museum or library, says the career component of the scholarship is exciting.

“Obviously the fact that it’s a full-ride scholarship is amazing, but I also see myself really benefiting from the career preparation and extracurricular requirements,” she says.

Mancuso scholars must also maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher, participate in at least one extracurricular activity each semester, and write a paper at the end of each academic year reflecting on their career and academic growth.

“These are students who might otherwise have to work at a job 25 hour a week to get by and would still graduate in debt,” Mancuso says. “My hope with the scholarship is that it will free them up to experience a robust college life, where they can take advantage of the many extracurricular activities that are available.”

Mancuso hopes every scholar will pay it forward after graduation, by remaining engaged with their academic departments as mentors to future students.

To learn more about the Mancuso English, Humanities, and Social & Behavioral Sciences Scholarships, visit

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.