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.