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Duke Ends Merit Scholarship for Students of African Descent

Duke University is discontinuing its Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship Program, a program for top applicants of African descent.

Dr. Candis Watts SmithDr. Candis Watts SmithThe decision comes in the wake of the 2023 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College that ended race-based affirmative action in college admissions, reported The Chronicle, a Duke student-run publication.

The merit scholarship, established in 1979, is named after the first African American President of the Associated Students of Duke University. No application is required for the scholarship, which pays full tuition, room, and board. Award recipients are selected, in part, based on recommendations made by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to the Reginaldo Howard Scholarship Advisory Council.

The Office of University Scholars and Fellows is partnering with the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture to establish the Reginaldo Howard Leadership Program in place of the scholarship program, reports The Chronicle. It will be open to all undergraduate students, regardless of race.

“The Reginaldo Howard Leadership Program will honor Reggie Howard’s legacy by supporting Black academic excellence, intellectual community and leadership on campus through an intentionally designed series of engagement opportunities,” wrote Dr. Candis Watts Smith, vice provost for undergraduate education, in an email to Reggie Scholars and alumni.

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