Elias Warner Leavenworth was a prominent businessman, lawyer, and politician from Syracuse, N.Y. He served as the second mayor of Syracuse in 1849, and received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Hamilton in 1872. In an open letter to his family included in a volume titled A Genealogy of the Leavenworth Family in the United States, published in 1873, Leavenworth wrote: “A thorough education is an almost indispensable requisite to any valuable success in life, and to the accomplishment of any great good.”
In an effort to encourage future generations of Leavenworths to broaden their minds and opportunities, he indicated, in that same letter, his intent to establish a scholarship at Hamilton College. Carrying the Leavenworth name does not ensure admission to the College; all applicants must meet the criteria established for undergraduate candidates, as determined by the Admission Committee and the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid. The primary criteria for admission are academic achievement, intellectual potential, demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to extracurricular and community activities. The Leavenworth Scholarship is awarded to Hamilton College students with the name of Leavenworth.