NU Online News Service, Jan. 11, 2005, 3:50 p.m. EST

New York Life Insurance Company has announced the first recipients of the new Cirilo A. McSween New York Life Rainbow/PUSH Excel Award.[@@]

The scholarship program will recognize 7 full-time college students each year who have achieved academic excellence and play an active role in their communities.

New York Life is launching the program to honor its first African-American agent, McSween, in conjunction with the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Chicago.

McSween is a 26-year qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table, Park Ridge, Ill. McSween also is a civil rights activist who once worked closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The first 7 recipients of the McSween scholarship are Rebekah Childers, a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Matthew Dugan, a sophomore at North Carolina A&T State University; Dexter Flowers, a freshman at the International Academy of Design & Technology; James Hamelin, a freshman at Fond Du Lac; Keenan Nelson Klein-Winters, a sophomore at Morehouse College; Antonia Opiah, a sophomore at New York University; and Michael Pearson, a freshman at the University of Massachusetts?Amherst.