Key Information

  • Scholarships are merit based.
  • Universities must qualify in order to nominate students.
  • Students who are nominated must have a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0.
  • The Board or appointed Board Committee reviews all applications from all qualified schools at the same time each spring.
  • Each candidate must demonstrate outstanding academic performance and strong potential for careers in lighting.
  • The Board will make the final selections.
  • There can be variety and creativity in the essays. If there is a question on this, please have Campus Liaison contact the Besal Fund Representative/Liaison.

All candidates must be nominated and sponsored by their college or university. The Fund will not solicit or accept applications directly from students.

The Fund invites all accredited institutions to apply for qualification. Additionally, each university will need to appoint a faculty representative to serve as their Campus Liaison between their institution and the Fund’s liaison (

Common Questions About The Besal Fund

Following is a list of common questions and answers about the Besal Fund

What is an endowment?
That part of an institution’s income that is derived by donations. This can "endow" an activity or process, or be given to others.

What is a scholarship?
A sum of money given to a student to defray part or all of the cost of a college education.

  • It does not have to be repaid.
  • It does not produce anything; essentially it funds a process.
  • It can be either "need-based" or "merit-based".
  • It can be specific to one university, or be state-wide, national or inter-national in its scope. It can be given by civic, government or private organizations.
What does an "endowment" and "scholarships" have to do with the Besal Fund?
The Besal Fund is a private entity, in this case a stand-alone, nonprofit organization whose endowment exists for the sole purpose of: offering scholarships to high-achieving (merit-based) college students who study lighting sciences.

What is an Endowed Fund?
This is an amount of money that is invested specifically to produce income that will be spent in a pre-specified way. This Fund can be incorporated in such a way as to be considered a nonprofit organization. Among other things, this means that most contributions to it are tax deductible.

When and why was the Robert J. Besal Scholarship Fund created? How big is it?
It was created in 1983 to honor the memory of the late Robert J. Besal, a Lithonia Lighting Vice President.

  • It only does one thing: award merit-based scholarships (academic achievement) to students who study lighting.
  • The Besal endowment is currently $1.6 million dollars and awarded over $500,000 in scholarships.
  • It is managed by an agent committee. This committee includes both Acuity Brands Lighting and Lithonia Lighting Sales Agency Principals and Lithonia Lighting Managers.
  • This committee is now reviewing the current structure to consider changes that will allow it to reach a broader constituency and have a higher profile.
How can a school or university become "qualified" as a Besal Fund school?
Schools are accepted for accreditation as a Besal Fund school by promoting and educating students in the study of light and design.  To qualify, schools must submit an application for acceptance that is reviewed and voted upon by the Besal Fund Board of Directors. 


Lithonia Lighting
One Lithonia Way
Conyers, Georgia 30012

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