The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program brings together students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who have demonstrated a commitment to further the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through excellence in academic achievement and distinguished leadership and community service. The understanding of the legacy that informs the Scholars Program is the beloved community defined by the themes of excellence, social equality and economic justice. Dr. King’s beloved community is inclusive and just, where individuals can grow and thrive.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program is more than an academic scholarship and requires more of students than outstanding grades. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars are enrolled in full-time study and complete their degrees in one of NYU’s undergraduate divisions. As MLK Scholars, they are awarded a merit and need-based financial aid package and participate in a rich combination of scholarly activities, domestic and international travel colloquia, research, leadership activities including community service, internships, and educational and cultural events. The goals of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program are to promote excellence in academic achievement, build community, and help to nurture the next generation of leadership for change.
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 the "beloved community", a world free of racism, poverty, violence, and war. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars would be among the best and the brightest and would be asked to give back in the form of service to others, make a difference in their lives. 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 of Individualized Study. They were from California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars are enrolled in all undergraduate divisions of the University, hail from coast to coast, and in May 2017 the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program will graduate its 26th Class of students passionate about putting their footprints on all sectors of society and our world.