In 2015, University of Puget Sound joined 52 of the nation's finest colleges and universities in partnering with The Posse Foundation. Puget Sound was Posse's first partner in the Pacific Northwest and the first to recruit students from the San Francisco Bay Area. The Posse Foundation is a national nonprofit organization committed to expanding the pool from which colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds. Posse identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional colleges’ selection processes and places them in supportive, multicultural teams—or “posses”—of 10 students at top-tier colleges. Posse scholars receive a full-tuition scholarship, regardless of financial need.
The selection process is highly competitive, with more than 17,000 students nominated for only 750 scholarships. Posse identifies students of exceptional leadership skill using the Dynamic Assessment Process, testing students' problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills, as well as their initiative, resourcefulness, and intrinsic leadership abilities.
On campus, Posse scholars meet weekly with a faculty advisor to learn college-survival skills, build team cohesion, and explore ways of becoming agents to change stereotypes on campus. Posse scholars serve as club leaders, on student government, and in many other leadership roles on campus.
"The Posse Foundation gave me the opportunity to attend this four year private university and it is with and because of Posse that I am not only pursuing higher education, but also excelling. I strive to work to cultivate skills that will make me more effective in understanding others as well as build upon my cultural competency/consciousness as a student and person. As a Posse scholar, I am learning how my presence and voice can and does influence the system to better serve students like me, and for that, I am forever grateful for the family and skills I am gaining."
- Nicole Carino '21
“If it wasn’t for Posse, I wouldn’t be at this school. The people in the Posse cohorts here help me so much. Now that we have all 4 Posse cohorts, there’s someone from pretty much every major. The women in the Posse 1 cohort who are psychology majors have helped me a lot both with my psychology major and because we are all women of color.”
- Jade Herbert '21
"Posse has allowed me to create and participate in spaces on campus that promote inclusivity, civic engagement, social justice, and carrying out the mission of Posse."
- Neomi Ngo '22
"As I’ve gotten to know my Posse scholars, I feel very privileged for the window I’ve had into their remarkable lives—lives in which grit, resilience, grace, humor, curiosity, and love, are all amazingly stitched up together. Being part of that world, and helping them realize their visions for the future, is a tremendously exciting thing to be a part of."
- Steven Neshyba, professor, chemistry
"My Posse scholars have been incredibly visible and influential on campus. They have served in student government, started new identity-based clubs on campus, worked to bring diversity training to Res Life and Greek Life, and broadened the programming of the Yellow House. They have challenged professors and classmates, raised their voices, and brought the whole campus community into the project of inclusion through the Posse Plus Retreat."
- Emilie Peine, associate professor, international political economy
"Posse scholars are strong young people. They show a determination, commitment, sense of self, and sense of responsibility that’s quite remarkable for people their age. This campus needs people like that to help move us forward.”
- Nancy Bristow, professor, history
"I wasn’t sure what to expect when signing up to be the first Posse mentor at Puget Sound. Now, a little over three years after meeting Puget Sound’s Posse 1, I can say that it was one of the most important experiences in my time at Puget Sound. It changed the way I relate to students and the way I think about teaching. But most of all, I am constantly amazed by each of the students in my group who have shown such strength and kindness as they grew into the true campus leaders they are today."
- Ariela Tubert, professor, philosophy