William E. McKnight Memorial Scholarship

Purpose of Scholarship

To provide up to four years of college scholarship support to an African American high school graduate who exemplifies the characteristics of William McKnight.

Application Period

December 1 to March 1

Number and Size of Awards

One award of $10,000; paid as $2,500 per year for up to four consecutive years of undergraduate study. Award paid in the Fall semester.

Allowed Use of Award

Awards may be used for tuition, fees, books, and other expenses associated with higher education.

Eligibility Criteria

For an African American graduating senior who:

  • Is identified as an Urban League Black Scholar;
  • Is from Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, or Wayne counties and has been accepted into an accredited four-year college;
  • Demonstrates the qualities and characteristic of Bill McKnight — the capacity for high-quality intellectual work and achievement and a depth of understanding and personal insight into people of all backgrounds; and
  • Has financial need.

Application Process

The application process is coordinated through the Community Foundation, and this scholarship is grouped with other scholarships in our Consolidated Scholarship Application. This means that by completing this one application, you will automatically be considered for any and all other scholarships connected to the Consolidated Application.

To apply for this scholarship and more, complete the Consolidated Scholarship Application.

To continue working on the Consolidated Application or another application you have already started, click here and go to the My Applications tab.

Committee/Selection Process

The selection process is coordinated through the Urban League of Rochester. Recommended applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of one or two Nixon Peabody representatives, one Community Foundation/community representative, and one member of the Urban League. Candidates are required to participate in a personal interview with members of the scholarship selection committee at Nixon Peabody Law Offices.

Award Announcement and Payment

The Community Foundation emails a certificate to the Urban League of Rochester for presentation to the recipient at the annual Black Scholars Recognition Dinner and emails an award notification with instructions for claiming the award to the recipient. The scholarship is payable once per academic year and can be applied to either the Fall semester (between July 1 and August 15) or Spring semester (between December 1 and February 15). Payment is made to the school for the recipient's account once required documentation is received.

To release the initial scholarship payment, send a class schedule or un/official transcript to the Community Foundation verifying enrollment at an accredited four-year college or university. To release subsequent scholarship payments, send an un/official transcript and tuition bill or the William E. McKnight Scholarship Renewal Form to the Community Foundation verifying continued enrollment. Scholarships not claimed by February 15 in the assigned year will be forfeited.


This scholarship is renewable up to three times for a total of four awards in four consecutive years. Please see the Award Announcement and Payment section above for more information.

William E. McKnight Scholarship Renewal Form

Donor Information

This scholarship was established by William E. McKnight's colleagues in 1986 as a memorial to McKnight, a partner with the law firm of Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody LLP), who died at the age of 36.


Email Scholarships@racf.org or call 585.341.4350 for assistance.

« Back to Scholarship Search