Unitarian Church
of Harrisburg

Oliver LaGrone Scholarship Information

2021 LAGRONE SCHOLAR – Heather Rojas

Heather Rojas was honored as the 2021 LaGrone Scholar in a virtual service on May 23. She graduated from Harrisburg High School, an outstanding student and a leader in academic activities. She was enrolled in the Cougar Academy, a cyber blended learning option for students in grades 1-12 of the Harrisburg School District.The LaGrone Scholarship Selection Panel was impressed by the number of college credits she had earned through dual enrollment at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). Rojas was also named among the “Best and Brightest of 2021” students by the Patriot-News.

Rojas is pursuing a four-year degree in nursing. Her LaGrone Scholarship Mentor is Susan Jones-Sink, health-care professional.


Oliver LaGrone was a nationally noted poet, sculptor, philosopher, and humanitarian. He was also active with the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg (UCH) while he lived in Harrisburg and taught at The Pennsylvania State University in the 1970’s. LaGrone’s accomplishments and engaging manner inspired members of the church to create a scholarship in his name. Over the years, funds to establish and build the scholarship came from many fundraisers and the donations of many individuals and organizations, including  LaGrone’s donation of the proceeds from a sale of his sculpture, “The Dancer”. Historically, some additional funds came from the UCH Endowment Fund and the L. James Eckels Trust. However, today, the scholarship fund is replenished solely by donations and fund raisers such as the Book Swap.


The Oliver LaGrone Scholarship program offers the largest local scholarship available to graduates of Harrisburg Public High School. The 2022 Scholar can receive up to $12,000 ($3000 annually).

A Scholarship Of $3000 Per Year for Four Years Can Be Yours, If …

  • You are a student at the Harrisburg Public High Schools or a graduate of the Harrisburg School District (graduates must apply within five years of their graduation)
  • You are an applicant at an accredited post-secondary institution such as a college, business school, technical school, school of nursing, or an institute of fine arts
  • You are motivated to continue your education despite obstacles
  • You can demonstrate financial need
  • You have gained knowledge and skills from life that will help you succeed in the future

If You Have These Qualities, Please Apply, Even If Your Academic Record Is Not Outstanding!


The mission of The Oliver LaGrone Scholarship Committee is to generate, broaden, and nurture post-secondary aspirations of Harrisburg School District students by providing personal support and advocacy; providing financial assistance for post-secondary education; involving Unitarian Church of Harrisburg members in action toward this purpose; and maintaining the legacy of Oliver LaGrone as the inspiration for the Scholarship.

Each year, UCH presents a scholarship for post-secondary education to a Harrisburg School District graduate. A Mentor is identified from the UCH congregation with expertise in the scholar’s area of study. This Mentor offers advice and guidance to the scholar throughout his or her education and sometimes beyond. A representative of the OLS Committee participates in the annual Harrisburg High School Awards Ceremony usually held in May at the school’s auditorium. At this ceremony, high school seniors are recognized by the faculty and community-at-large for their achievements. At this ceremony, the representative of the OLS Committee recognizes the scholar and the nature of the program is presented to all in attendance.


You must complete the linked scholarship application packet and return it by US MAIL ONLY, postmarked on or before March 15, 2022. You must also send in a suitable digital photograph (details in application).

If you are selected for an interview, following the receipt and review of your application, you must be able to attend an interview at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg on April 21, 2022. You must also have access to a Zoom capable device with camera and microphone on April 21st in case Zoom must be used for the interview. More details can be found in the application packet.

Assistance is available to complete the application or other financial assistance applications. Just call the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg at (717) 564-4761. If you need additional space to answer any question in the application, feel free to add a separate sheet.


  • 2020 – Cristina Ledesma – Shippensburg University – Accounting 
    Dr. Karen Mallah, UCH Mentor, Spanish speaker
  • 2019 – Ayobami “Kenny” Akingbesote – Harrisburg Area Community College – Nursing
    Ann Stillwater, UCH Mentor, school nurse
  • 2018 – Sabina Dahal – Penn State University, Harrisburg Campus – Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
    Dr. Meg Conners, UCH Mentor, retired science educator