Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Scholarship

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a groundbreaking attorney, a lifelong advocate for women’s rights and gender equality and served as an Associate Supreme Court Judge for 27 years, the second woman to be appointed to the position.

To honor her memory and her legacy of unstinting support for gender and racial equality in all aspects of life, as well as her abilities and energy in continuously working to overcome prejudice and bias, the Vernon Township Board of Trustees has chosen to create The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Scholarship Program. The purpose of the program is to provide funds to senior high school students that identify as female, gender fluid, transgender and nonbinary who have expressed and demonstrated an interest in emulating the career of Justice Ginsburg through education in government, public service, or advocacy.  The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to two students (one from Vernon Hills High School and one from Stevenson High School) each year in the amount of $2,500 each.  

Criteria & Eligibility

  1. Applicant must attend Stevenson High School or Vernon Hills High School.
  2. Applicant must reside within Vernon Township
  3. Applicant must be a graduating high school senior in the year of the award.
  4. Applicant must have a 3.0 grade point average out of 4.0 or higher.
  5. Applicant must demonstrate community involvement in the areas of advocacy, volunteerism, or internships.
  6. Applicants may not be related to any member of the Vernon Township Board of Trustees or staff for this presents a conflict of interest. 
  7. Scholarships must be used in the following full school year after the award has been made.  
  8. Scholarships will be paid directly to the institution the applicant has committed to attending. 
  9. Scholarships are non-transferable and will not be paid to institutions outside the United States. 
  10. Vernon Township reserves the right to disqualify any application that is inaccurate, incomplete, or that has been generated by automated means or plagiarized.   
  11. All decisions regarding the scholarship, including without limitation to the selection of the winner shall be final and binding in all respects.  

General Instructions

  1. Deadline for the scholarship application is December 31, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
  2. Refer to the application process below for a list of all supporting documents needed.
  3. You will be notified at the email address provided regarding the status of your application.
  4. If you have any questions about the application, please call Vernon Township at 847-634-4600 or email SupervisorAltenberg@VernonTownship.com.

Application Process

Applicant must submit the following items:

  1. 1. Completed application form (found here)
  2. 2.A short essay (500 words or less) on how the applicant is inspired by Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and how it will shape their future education and career.
  3. 3. Two letters of recommendation (1 page maximum per letter), one from a high school teacher in a related field such as government, political science, philosophy, history, etc., and one from an extracurricular leader in the area of advocacy or volunteerism. 
  4. An official and recent high school transcript with cumulative grade point average.
  5. Cost of Attendance minus Expected Family Contribution (From the FAFSA form)
  6. Applicants will be contacted to participate in an interview with the Scholarship Selection Committee. 

Please email all supplemental documents to SupervisorAltenberg@VernonTownship.com

A Brief Summary of Justice Ginsburg’s Career

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in 1933 to low-income, working-class parents and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She excelled in school and received a scholarship to Cornell University, where she graduated first in her class with a degree in government. She married in 1954 and had her first child shortly after her husband, Martin Ginsburg was drafted. After his discharge, they returned to Harvard, where Ginsburg enrolled in law school, being one of only eight women in a class of more than 500. The environment was male-dominated and hostile to the women, who were criticized for taking the places of more qualified men. Ginsburg excelled in law school and became the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

After her husband graduated and joined a New York law firm, Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she was elected to its law review and graduated first in her class in 1959. Even with her impressive credentials, she faced discrimination from potential employers at law firms.

Ginsburg clerked for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri and taught at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia University in the 60’s and 70’s, where she became the first female tenured professor. During that time, she also served as Director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1980 President Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for DC. In 1993 President Clinton chose Ginsburg to fill the Supreme Court seat of Justice Byron White. She was confirmed by the Senate on a vote of 96-3.

Ginsburg’s support in two landmark Court decisions were considered crucial to the outcomes. One upheld a significant component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the second, on a 5-4 majority ruling made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020.  She was laid in state in the Capitol, the first woman and second Supreme Court Justice to receive this honor.