MLK Scholar Program

A Community of Scholars | The Power to Influence Change
Class of 2024 and 2025
The time has always been "now"
"The time is always right to do what is right." ~The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968. "Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution.")

Welcome to the MLK Scholar Program at Ithaca College!

MLK Scholar Program 20th Anniversary: Historical Context at Ithaca College at a Glance

 In 2002, Dr. Tanya Saunders and Dr. Roger Richardson established this opportunity for our campus community, centering the experiences of prospective PoC students looking to access higher education and further their academic excellence.

Through the lens of social justice and service, the principles of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were called upon as a philosophy for leadership and civic engagement. The vision for the MLK Scholar Program would also give students the opportunity to be introduced to research with experiential learning opportunities (domestic and international travel) while supporting their studies and personal development.

Over a four-year experience, MLK Scholars have studied civil and human rights, developed case studies in global justice under the leadership of esteemed faculty, and have been challenged & supported to develop their reach and impact in the Tompkins County and Ithaca College communities.

These 60 students have represented a wide range of human diversity as people of color from various geographic locations, ethnicities, values, skills, majors, and focus areas in social justice. 

From 2002 to 2022, the program strives to support the leadership development of students who represent minoritized identities across academic disciplines at Ithaca College. Whether a student is in the medical field or has obtained a business degree or a degree within the performing arts, the MLK Scholarship Program at Ithaca College has contributed to the development of amazing change agents through the lens of social justice. 

Historically, the MLK Scholarship has been awarded to student leaders who have earned a 3.3 or better grade point average (GPA), demonstrated leadership within their academic or home communities, and belong within a minoritized community.

If you are a prospective Ithaca College student with demonstrated leadership, service in your local community, and have a lifelong commitment to social justice, we look forward to connecting with you soon. Students who self-identify within an underrepresented minority, students who would be considered first-generation, and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Interested applicants must: 

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America.
  • Be able to demonstrate current (and past) continued service in their local communities through a social justice lens.
  • Be ready to clearly articulate throughout the application and interview process their leadership involvement and expand on their personal development because of those experiences.
  • Be willing to stay committed to service, program requirements, academic excellence, and social justice throughout their four-year experience at Ithaca College.

By the Numbers

Our Mission

The Martin Luther King Scholar Program prepares academically talented, historically under-represented undergraduate students of color for the development of knowledge, skills, and ethical values by engaging them in meaningful learning opportunities that foster social justice service and leadership development.

Our Vision

The Martin Luther King Scholar Program facilitates the students' pursuit of academic and personal success within a challenging developmental experience by fostering scholarly excellence, social justice service, and leadership development.

For More Information, Please Contact

Office of Admission
Ithaca College
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850-7000
(607) 274-3124