RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University quarterback Tyler Swafford (pictured) will interview Saturday morning, Nov. 19 for a Mitchell Scholarship in Washington, D.C. and then play later that afternoon in the Colonels’ game at home against Eastern Illinois.
Swafford’s interview is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and will last approximately 30 minutes. He will then fly back to Kentucky and is expected to be at Roy Kidd Stadium around 12:30 p.m. The game is now scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program is a national, competitive scholarship sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. The scholarship has become so popular that in the previous three years, of the 10 individuals to be offered both a Mitchell Scholarship and Rhodes Scholarship interview, eight opted for the Mitchell.
Swafford, an EKU Honors Scholar, has a 4.0 grade-point-average while majoring in globalization and international affairs, and minoring in business.
From more than 300 applicants, 80 were selected as semifinalists and of those, 20 were chosen as finalists. Those 20 will be cut to no more than 12 through the interview process on Saturday.
The Mitchell Scholarship Program, named to honor former US Senator George Mitchell's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.
Up to 12 Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one academic year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Applicants are judged on three criteria: scholarship, leadership, and a sustained commitment to community and public service.
The Mitchell Scholarship Program provides tuition, accommodation, a stipend for living expenses and travel.
“It’s a big honor, considering the prestige of the award,” Swafford said. “To get a chance to study in Ireland would be amazing. More than anything, I’m really excited for EKU and to be able to represent them through this process. The honors program here has been very helpful to me.”
On the field Swafford, a redshirt sophomore, has started three games this season, including each of the past two contests. He has thrown for 860 yards and has tossed five touchdown passes. He also has a rushing touchdown. Two weeks ago, the Brentwood, Tennessee native threw for a career-best 289 yards against Murray State. This past weekend, Swafford completed 15-of-26 passes while throwing for 182 yards. He had two touchdown passes and did not throw an interception while leading EKU to a 67-30 victory. The 67 points tied the program record set in 1925.
“Tyler Swafford embodies all the values you look for in a student-athlete,” EKU Head Coach Mark Elder said. “He excels as a student, carrying a 4.0 GPA and is a true competitor on the field. I’m very proud of what he has accomplished both in both aspects and he has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Senator Mitchell served as chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland. In 1995, he served as a Special Advisor to President Bill Clinton on Ireland, and from 1996 to 2000 he served as the Independent Chairman of the Northern Ireland Peace Talks. Under his leadership the Good Friday Agreement, an historic accord ending decades of conflict, was agreed to by the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland. For his service in Northern Ireland Senator Mitchell received numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given by the U.S. Government; the Philadelphia Liberty Medal; the Truman Institute Peace Prize; and the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize.
EKU Athletics Photo