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MLK Scholars Program

MLK Scholars

Early on in NYU’s history, its undergraduate schools/colleges celebrated academic excellence through its various honors programs. In keeping with this tradition, in 1986, the Association of Black Faculty and Administrators at New York University proposed to the then Chancellor L.Jay Oliva that an all-University honors program be named in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and support his vision of a world free of racism, poverty, violence, and war. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars would not only be among the "best and brightest," but they would also be asked to "give back" in the form of service to others.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program brings together students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who have demonstrated a commitment to furthering the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through excellence in academic achievement and distinguished leadership. The understanding of the legacy that informs the scholars program includes the themes of “the beloved community” and social justice - Dr. King’s commitment to the proposition that inclusive and just communities are communities where individuals can grow and thrive. Our goals are to:

  • Promote excellence in academic achievement and leadership
  • Build community
  • Help to prepare and nurture the next generation of leadership for change

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program is more than an academic scholarship and requires more of students than high grades. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars are enrolled in fulltime study and complete their degrees in one of NYU’s undergraduate divisions. In addition, they are awarded a merit and need-based financial aid package and participate in a rich combination of seminars, domestic and international travel colloquia, research, leadership activities, including community service, and educational and cultural activities.

Our History

In 1986, the Association of Black Faculty and Administrators at New York University proposed that a scholars program be named in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and support his vision of a world free of racism, poverty, violence, and war. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars would not only be among the "best and brightest," but they would also be asked to "give back" in the form of service to others.

In 1987, the first group of 16 Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars began their studies in the College of Arts and Science, the School of Education, the Tisch School of the Arts, the Stern School of Business and the Gallatin School. They were from California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Today, more than 100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars are enrolled in all eight undergraduate divisions of the University.

Contact Us

Patricia M. Carey
Chair, Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program
University Associate Vice Provost for Diversity Programs and
Associate Dean for Student Affairs,
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development Affairs
patricia.carey@nyu.edu

Program Associates

Tanesha Barnes
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
tanesha.barnes@nyu.edu

Evelyn Thimba
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
evelyn.thimba@nyu.edu

Jessica Walker
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Student Affairs
jessica.walker@nyu.edu


Engage and Explore

Woven throughout the scholars experience are opportunities to explore and investigate the multifaceted cultural side of New York University and New York City.

The Scholars Talent Showcase and the annual King Legacy Teach-In with elementary and junior high school students are other dimensions of the Program that bring Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars together with other Scholars in the University and the New York City community.

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