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The Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship Program


A merit scholarship for students who embody the qualities of Reginaldo Howard, Duke's first African American student government president. Reggie Scholars are committed to academic achievement, leadership, and community service and social justice.

Who was Reginaldo Howard?

Reginaldo “Reggie” Howard was the first African-American President of the Associated Students of Duke University (the primary organ of undergraduate student government at Duke). A sophomore political science major, Reggie was returning to Duke for a meeting from his home in Columbia, South Carolina, when he was killed in an automobile accident. His high academic standards, unquestioned integrity, sincere concern for others, and good humor made a deep impression on all who came into contact with him, and ultimately inspired the foundation of this award.

About the Program

The Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship, named after Duke University’s first African American student body president, is one of a handful of merit scholarships awarded by Duke University. Recipients of this prestigious scholarship are extraordinary individuals who exhibit a commitment to academic achievement, leadership, and community service and social justice. The scholarship pays full tuition, room and board. All scholars must maintain a respectable GPA annually to continue the benefits of the scholarship. This scholarship program specifically targets exemplary students of African descent.

In addition to the financial award, matriculating scholars become members of the Reginaldo Howard Scholars Organization. This organization includes a Faculty Advisor/Program Director, an Advisory Council consisting of the faculty and administration, and student officers. An ongoing agenda of events and activities that keep alive the legacy of Reginaldo Howard keeps the group an active and visible one on campus and in the Durham community.


There is no application required for the Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship. The procedure for selecting award recipients begins with recommendations made by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to the Reginaldo Howard Scholarship Advisory Council in February annually. These selected candidates are considered to be among the top applicants of African descent to Duke University. Over the course of several weeks, Advisory Council members and current scholars evaluate the dossiers of these candidates in hopes of generating a group of fifteen to twenty students for final consideration for the award. From this group of finalists, a limited number of scholarship recipients are chosen. An interview with the finalists during Finalists’ Weekend is conducted to this end..

While there are no minimum test scores or strict requirements for scholarship eligibility, scholars have traditionally been in the top percentiles of their graduating classes, demonstrated a substantial commitment to community service, and in distinct ways, embodied the spirit of leadership, social justice, and community-mindedness associated with the memory of Reginaldo Howard.

In addition to merit, a few of our scholarships also require demonstration of financial need. Please provide the Financial Aid office with all necessary documentation, no later than the first week in March, to optimize consideration for scholarship awards.

Around mid-April, 15 to 20 finalists will visit Duke’s campus for the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows (OUSF) Finalists’ Weekend. They will be hosted by current Reginaldo Howard Scholars and will have the opportunity to attend classes, enjoy a wide range of cultural activities, and interact with other prospective first year students. They will also meet current students, and Duke faculty and staff. Scholarship winners will be notified within days of this weekend visit. Special care is taken not to discriminate in favor of or against early decision applicants; all applicants are considered during an established evaluative period.

Copyright Office of Undergraduate Scholars & Fellows 2017