Story by Marianna Moore

After reading a book about Thurgood Marshall in fifth grade, Colby Thornton knew he wanted eventually to become a supreme court justice. With that goal in mind, he needed to begin his undergraduate career. He said Mizzou was always an option, but the Land Grant scholarship program ultimately helped him finalize his decision.

“I looked at the cost for Mizzou, and their prices were lower. But not only were they lower, I realized I could get it paid for through the Land Grant program,” Thornton said. “So, I was like, ‘That’s the place for me.’ ”

Thornton is a sophomore majoring in business with an emphasis in finance. He is from St. Joseph, Missouri and is a recipient of the Land Grant Honors Award. This scholarship provides guaranteed coverage of all tuition, fees, and room and board to attend the University of Missouri. Thornton must stay in good academic standing to keep the award, and he said this requirement makes him stay focused on his school work.

“So, since I have to maintain a 3.5 grade-point average to keep the scholarship, it pushes me to work harder,” he said. “I’m always focused in class. I’m near the front of the classroom, always paying attention, always taking notes, and it even helps me talk to other people. That way I can interact with others to see if there’s any way that they could help me succeed as well.”

The Land Grant Honors Award requires students to live in a residence hall, and living on campus helped Thornton branch out and make friends. He decided to join the Outreach Recruitment Team, a group of students who contact admitted students and work “Meet Mizzou” days to make prospective Tigers feel welcomed. Thornton said all of the experiences and opportunities helped him bond with his peers.

Learn more about Mizzou's Land Grant program

Thornton said that the book he read in fifth grade about Thurgood Marshall was such an inspiration to him because of the lack of opportunity Thornton observed in his own hometown. Through his undergraduate career at Mizzou, Thornton is determined to attend law school.

“To see someone that was so high up doing something, making an impact was just so inspiring to me,” Thornton said. “And I love that. And he fought tooth and nail to get to that point. And I think I see myself that way. Like, I’m constantly trying to work hard to succeed.”


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