Four students at Carolina and Duke are about to receive a rare opportunity in higher education.
Two first-year students from each school will be invited to join the Robertson Scholars Program, a comprehensive leadership initiative in which students receive full four-year merit scholarships and study at both universities. The new scholars will enter the program in the spring semester.
To date, only high school seniors have been eligible to be chosen as Robertson Scholars. Since the program was founded in 2000, about 36 seniors have been selected each spring to become Robertson Scholars at Carolina or Duke.
The program’s board of directors approved the initiative to invite first-year students after gleaning recent feedback from more than 30 Duke and Carolina administrators and faculty. The initiative is a pilot program to take place this year and next, adding four students each to the Robertson classes of 2013 and 2014.
“We’re doing this because we want to provide opportunities for students who have adapted quickly to the university setting and demonstrated clear values, exceptional curiosity and passion for working with and inspiring others,” said program President Tony Brown. “We have high hopes for these students and expect they will both benefit from and add a great deal to our community.”
The program will host information sessions on both campuses Nov. 9-19 for interested students. University and community leaders are invited to encourage exemplary first-year students to attend. The sessions will be:
Currently 140 Robertson Scholars study at the two universities. Students enroll at one campus or the other, take classes at both and spend one semester in residence at the other university.
The scholarship funds tuition, room and board, and fees and provides laptop computers and three summers of domestic and international experiences. Robertson Scholars come together for research projects, leadership development, service-learning programs and seminars taught by faculty of both universities.
The program runs a free express bus between the two campuses that is open to all members of the Duke and Carolina communities. It also offers collaboration grants to faculty and students at each university to support joint programs.
Julian Robertson ’55 and his wife, Josie, of New York founded the Robertson program in June 2000 with a $24 million gift.
“We are very proud of this program and the scholars who have been part of it,” Brown said. “So many of them have gone on to do exceptional things, and they are in all parts of the world. We’re excited by the prospect of providing transformative opportunities for first-year students who have shown that they have a similar enthusiasm for learning and leading.”