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2018 Undergraduate Scholar Award in honor of Dennis I. Belcher Guidelines


This achievement award is given annually to one or more current Cooke undergraduate scholars, in honor of Dennis I. Belcher, former counsel to the Cooke Foundation and Mr. Cooke’s estate lawyer. Current undergraduate scholars demonstrating outstanding achievement during the prior two years (January 2016 through December 2017) are eligible.* Such achievements might include the development of an innovative solution to a societal problem, creation of a significant community program, or publication of an important work. In all cases, it is important that the outstanding achievement touches the lives of others in meaningful ways and demonstrates impact. The Undergraduate Scholar Award in honor of Dennis I. Belcher will be presented by the foundation’s Board of Directors to the individual(s) selected.  Winners will receive a cash prize of up to $5,000 and the recipient(s) will be honored at Scholars Weekend 2018.

* Undergraduate scholars who applied previously to the Quinn Prize are eligible for reapplication. Previous winners are ineligible.



Any Cooke Foundation staff member, scholar, or alumnus/a may nominate one current undergraduate scholar for the Undergraduate Scholar Award. Scholars may also nominate themselves. Nominators must fill out a brief Nomination Form with a description of the achievement and the nominee’s relevant characteristics. Foundation staff will contact the nominee to request a completed Nominee Form, a resume or CV, and a letter of recommendation discussing the nominee’s achievement. The foundation will review additional supplemental materials on a case-by-case basis. Select staff will review all applications and make final recommendations to the selection committee. The selection committee, comprised of senior staff, will recommend the finalist(s) to the Board of Directors.



The foundation will select one or more prize recipients who best exhibit the following accomplishments and characteristics:

  • Extraordinary achievement in an academic field, the arts, or public service.
  • The traits that marked Dennis Belcher’s life and career: empathy, love of learning, innovation, community, and leadership.



The Undergraduate Scholar Award of up to $5,000 is a cash award given directly to the recipient(s). The recipient(s) may use the award for any purpose and it will not count towards the annual scholarship cap. The foundation may award prizes of less than $5,000 or divide the prize among multiple recipients.

The deadline for Nomination Forms is February 2, 2018 and for Nominee Forms is March 16, 2018. The Undergraduate Scholar Award will be presented at Scholars Weekend 2018.



For nominators

The Nomination Form deadline is February 2, 2018 and must be submitted to either the mailing address or email listed below. If a Cooke Scholar wishes to self nominate, they should send an email indicating so to the email listed below. Once received by the foundation, the nominee will receive an email from the foundation with a Nominee Form attached.

For nominees

Nominees will be asked to submit a brief Nominee Form and supporting documents to the foundation by March 16, 2018. The supporting documentation must include:

  • A resume/CV 
  • A letter of recommendation from a professor, employer, community leader, or some other person who can write about the nominee’s achievement in specific terms.

The supporting documents must be submitted by the nominee, not the nominator. Any additional supporting documents a nominee would like to submit must receive prior approval. Please submit request for approval to

Nomination Forms can be submitted through:

Undergraduate Scholar Award
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation                                     or
44325 Woodridge Parkway
Lansdowne, VA 20176                                                    

Please make sure to indicate “Undergraduate Scholar Award” on the envelope or in the email subject line.


ABOUT Dennis I. Belcher

Dennis I. Belcher was one of America’s pre-eminent trusts and estates attorneys and co-chairman of McGuireWoods’ nationally renowned Private Wealth Services Industry Team. Mr. Belcher served Jack Kent Cooke, his estate, and the foundation that bears his name for over two decades. He was instrumental in forming the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and continued to provide his guidance and expertise until his passing.

Belcher was long recognized as a visionary within trusts and estates law. A past president of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and former chairman of the American Bar Association's Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, his insights were sought out by clients, colleagues and Congress, where his testimony helped influence the direction of federal tax legislation.

Dennis gave generously of his time and expertise to numerous community organizations. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Bessemer Trust. He was instrumental in the founding of Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens where he was General Counsel. Dennis served as Trustee of the James Madison University Foundation and on the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Club of Virginia. He served as a member of the Board of Governors for St. Christopher's School from 1993 to 2002, Chairman from 1999 to 2002 and as President of the St. Christopher's School Foundation from 1993 to 1996, Chairman from 1993 to 1996 and Counsel to the Foundation from 1996 to 2017. He also was very involved with the family trucking company, Good's Transfer, Inc.

His greatest impact, however, was on the people who knew him. Dennis enjoyed spending time with his family, including the love of his life, his wife Vickie, together since their teenage years, their three children, and one grandson.