Support Gonzaga

Vinco Scholars Program

The Vinco Scholars Program is a shining example of how Gonzaga fulfills the needs of its diverse community members. As a teacher today, I see that anticipating the social, emotional, and academic needs of my students is essential to fulfilling those needs.
Max Kenyi
Vinco Scholar
Gonzaga Class of 2008

Vinco Staff

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Cris Hairston

    Mr. Cris Hairston 

    Director of VINCO Student Support Services, DEI Practitioner
  • Photo of Stephen Turner

    Mr. Steve Turner 

    Director of VINCO Graduate Support, Head Varsity Basketball Coach, DEI Practitioner
Founded in the late 1990s by Vincent A. Sheehy III ’46, Gonzaga’s Vinco Scholars Program is an endowed program that provides dozens of deserving young men a Gonzaga education. In addition to significant tuition assistance for students whose families would otherwise not be able to afford a Gonzaga education, Vinco Scholars receive tailored resources to help them succeed on Eye Street, in college, and beyond.

List of 4 items.

  • History and Founding

    As a teenager, Vincent A. Sheehy III ’46 created his own Gonzaga opportunity by delivering newspapers to support his tuition. A few decades later, he’d become among the most successful automobile dealers in the Mid-Atlantic region. What remained constant throughout his journey from newspaper boy to successful businessman was a deep belief that a Gonzaga education can make a profound difference in a young man’s life.

    In the early 1990s, Vince shared with then-Gonzaga President Father Bernard Dooley, S.J. his desire to empower students from the area’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods to achieve personal success. That conversation led to the establishment of the Gonzaga Vinco Scholars Program.

    Taking its name from the Latin word Vinco, meaning “I conquer,” The Vinco Scholars Program provides tuition assistance and mentor-guided academic and family support, all in keeping with the Jesuit education ideal of Cura Personalis—care for the whole person.

    Throughout their lives, Vince Sheehy and his wife, Helen, maintained close personal connections with Gonzaga and the opportunity-driven program they’d founded. That close-family connection endures through the involvement of the Sheehy’s five children, including their son Paul, who is a member of the Class of 1981 and past member of the Gonzaga Board of Directors.
  • A Student-Centered Approach

    When the program was first founded, two students per academic class were designated as Vinco Scholars. However, over time it became clear that many more students who receive tuition assistance at Gonzaga could benefit from the type of individualized support that the Vinco Program provides.

    Today, thanks to multiple funding sources, the program has expanded to offer support to many more deserving Gonzaga students.  Currently, there are 62 Vinco Scholars at Gonzaga, with 19 students from the Class of 2026 benefitting from the program -- the largest in Vinco history.

    As Director of Vinco Student Support Services, Mr. Cris Hairston serves as a mentor and liaison for all of Gonzaga’s Vinco Scholars – encouraging them to take part in extracurricular activities, exposing them to service opportunities, connecting them with academic support when needed, helping them select classes that interest and challenge them, and more. He communicates often with families and teachers, ensuring that each Vinco Scholar is able to identify his talents and interests in order to take advantage of all that Gonzaga has to offer.  Essential to this work is helping students forge relationships with faculty, staff, coaches, and counselors throughout campus, and coordinating the necessary resources and support available to them.  

    Vinco Scholars also take part in a tailored program created by Gonzaga’s College Counseling Office that offers extra support during the college application process. The program consists of six classes, a college application workshop, and college visits over the summer.
  • Vinco Staff

    The success of the Vinco Scholars Program is predicated on a community-based approach, and ensuring that students are connected with the people and resources that exist on Eye Street to help them succeed. 

    As Director of the program, Mr. Cris Hairston serves as both a mentor and liaison, coordinating and directing existing resources and support where needed. Longtime Vinco Director, Mr. Stephen Turner, is further extending Vinco’s impact by providing academic and personal support for former Vinco Scholars who are currently in college. Finally, Mr. Patrick Gallagher, who leads Gonzaga's College Counseling Office, works closely with both Mr. Hairston and Mr. Turner to offer advice and counseling to Vinco Scholars during the college search and application process.
  • Funding and Future

    Since its founding, the Sheehy family has been the driving force behind the Vinco Scholars Program. Thanks to their extraordinary generosity, the Vinco Endowed Fund at Gonzaga is now the largest individual fund in Gonzaga’s overall endowment. 

    The program's success has inspired others to invest in future Vinco Scholars at Gonzaga by establishing new funds to support the program, including: 
    • The Noreen Lucey WJA Endowed Scholarship Fund
    • Mattie E. Jackson Scholarship Fund
    • The Quinn Family Endowed Scholarship Fund
    • The Lawrence Family Endowed Scholarship Fund
    • The Class of 1968 Endowed Scholarship Fund
    To learn more about each of these funds, and how you can support the Vinco Scholars Program, click here.
The Vinco Scholars Program By the Numbers

62: Current number of Vinco Scholars studying on Eye Street
$23,000: Average tuition grant offered to Vinco Scholars 
100: Percentage of Vinco Scholars who are accepted to a four-year college 

"The Opportunity of a Lifetime"

Vinco alumni on the life-changing impact of the program.  
As Gonzaga embarks on its third century of service, our first priority is to ensure that we remain economically, geographically, and racially diverse, as well as accessible and appealing to low- and middle-income families. The Vinco Scholars Program is the primary way that we  can deliver on that promise for students from the area's most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Celebrating 200 Years of Jesuit Education in the Nation's Capital