Intro Image - William E. McKnight Memorial Scholarship

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

November 1 to March 4

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 and divided equally between the Fall and Spring semesters.

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

To begin or continue your application, click here.

This scholarship is one of dozens connected to our Consolidated Scholarship Application. Applying for this scholarship means you’ll be considered for any other relevant opportunities within the Consolidated Application.

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 in the Spring. Payment is made to the school for the recipient’s account in one lump sum in the Fall and split between the Fall and Spring semesters once required documentation is received.

To release the initial scholarship payment, upload the requested and required information including your class schedule and tuition bill verifying enrollment at an accredited four-year college or university to the Community Foundation’s online Consolidated Scholarship Application between July 1 and August 15.

To release subsequent scholarship payments, upload the requested and required information including your unofficial transcript, class schedule, tuition bill, and the William E. McKnight Scholarship Renewal Form verifying continued enrollment to the Community Foundation’s online Scholarship Acceptance and Renewal Form between July 1 and August 15.

Scholarships not claimed by February 15 in the assigned year will be forfeited. Email with any questions or concerns.


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.

To make your own gift to this fund, click here.


Email or call 585.341.4350 for assistance.

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