The University of Arizona

McLean First-Generation Scholarship



Dr. Katharine McLean’s lifelong passion was teaching and mentoring young people, and over the span of her 35-year career at Phoenix College she touched the lives of thousands of students. She was particularly gratified to help first generation students succeed in college, and helped many students make the transition from the community college to the university. These endowed funds are intended to continue her legacy by supporting first generation college students, facilitating the transition from community college to university, and supporting those outstanding individuals that have a passion for teaching.

Dr. McLean graduated from Cornell University in 1948, where she learned calculus from future Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. She then studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, graduating with a PhD in 1951 at age 23. She started her professional career at Redstone Arsenal, working with many of the original rocket pioneers at the dawn of the space age.

In 1952, she and her husband Claude (also a chemist) moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where she raised three children while teaching Chemistry at Phoenix College.  Her passion for teaching was undimmed after 37 years of college level instruction, and she continued her calling by tutoring primary grade students in reading and comprehension following her retirement in 1995.

When not in the classroom, the trilingual Dr. McLean (English, Spanish, German) enjoyed traveling with her family throughout Mexico, and was particularly fond of visiting her many friends in our sister state of Sonora. She succumbed to complications of Parkinson’s disease in 2011.

Application Information

Frequency: Annual
Amount: $2000 minimum
Application Period: Spring


  • Major:  Mathematics
  • Enrollment:  full-time
  • Citizenship/Residency:  none specified
  • Courses Complete:  
  • Completion of at least one course from:  MATH 223, 313, 254/355; this course must be completed at the University of Arizona (transfer credit does not apply).  If applicant has completed only one course from among 223, 313, 254/355, then at least one more must be in progress and expected to be completed by the end of the current spring semester.
  • First-generation college student (A student neither of whose natural or adoptive parents received a bachelor's degree; OR A student who, prior to the age of 18, regularly resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not receive a bachelor's degree; OR An individual who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or an adoptive parent.) 

As much as possible, all McLean scholars will be chosen with attention to their overall GPA, their mathematical aptitude, and emerging leadership within the community.  

To apply for consideration, students need to submit the following documentation:

1.  Completed application form (link available only during application period)

2.  A current resume (honors & awards, research, teaching, and/or work experiences, service, publications, memberships, and extra-curricular activities), submitted via email to the Math Center:  

Past Recipients