The Presidential Scholars Foundation cultivates, connects, and celebrates U.S. Presidential Scholars – past and present. The Foundation’s goal, in partnership with the Presidential Scholars Alumni Association is to advance the arts, culture, business, education, and civic life of the nation by connecting U.S. Presidential Scholars locally, nationally and around the globe to each other.
Each year, only 161 students are named U.S. Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. Newly named scholars are honored in Washington D.C. during a National Recognition Program. The Scholars, who come from all walks of life and excel in their academic and artistic achievements, represent the promise of greatness in young people and go on to be influential in their fields.
There are currently more than 7,000 Scholars making extraordinary advances in their fields of interest.
The Foundation implements programs of the Scholars Alumni Association and elevates the profile of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which is a program of the U.S. Department of Education. Founded in 1989, the Presidential Scholars Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3).
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Alumni Association was founded in 1996 to organize alumni (more than 7,000 alumni since the program was launched by President Johnson in 1964) and make the Presidential Scholars experience one that lasts a lifetime. The Alumni Association organizes local gatherings around the country, promotes social and professional networking, organizes alumni panels for the National Recognition Program, facilitates mentoring of younger alumni by older alumni, and generally works to bolster the alumni community. Each class of Scholars holds vast depths of potential, purpose and dedication to high ideals. Alumni range from a Pulitzer Prize winner (Eugene Robinson, 1970) to a Tony Award nominee (Desmond Richardson, 1986); a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” recipient (Amory Lovins, 1964) to a National Poet Laureate (Rita Dove, 1970); one of Fortune Magazine’s most powerful women in corporate America (Sallie Krawcheck, 1983) to the former Governor of Indiana (Mitch Daniels, 1967); a current Congressman (Don Beyer, 1968) to an accomplished actor and author (Wendell Pierce, 1981) to the youngest-ever member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors (Kristin Forbes, 1988)—plus 60 Rhodes Scholars and over 40 Marshall Scholars.
Learn more about Alumni Association activities here >
To get involved with the Alumni Association, contact John Knox (’83, AL) by email >
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students and is administered by White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the U.S. Department of Education to recognize and provide leadership development opportunities for some of America’s most outstanding graduating high school seniors. Each summer, the 161 Presidential Scholars travel to Washington, D.C. as guests for the National Recognition Program during which they partake in a broad range of educational, celebratory and fellowship activities. Scholars participate in seminars, lectures and workshops with government officials, elected representatives, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished people; perform community service; and attend cultural events and ceremonies held in their honor. During the National Recognition Program, they forge friendships that often last a lifetime. The event culminates in a White House-sponsored event at which the Scholars are awarded the Presidential Medallion.
The Presidential Scholars Foundation and Alumni Association operate independently of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and the White House Commission on U.S. Presidential Scholars.