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Coordinates: 36°00′07″N 78°55′21″W / 36.00187°N 78.92239°W / 36.00187; -78.92239

The Robertson Scholars Program is a joint full-ride merit scholarship and leadership development program at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The scholarship offers participants a unique “dual citizenship” at both Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to approximately 36 students selected from among the more than 39,000 applications to the two schools each year.[1]

The program also runs a bus service connecting the Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill campuses.[2]


History and Background

The program was created in 2000 by benefactor Julian Robertson, a 1955 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. Mr. Robertson sought to increase collaboration between Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill as well as to recruit students to the two universities.[3][4] His initial $24 million gift as well as his subsequent gifts to the program and the universities are overseen by a Board of Directors including Duke University President Richard Brodhead, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp, and Julian Robertson himself.[5]

The program covers all college costs (tuition, room and board, a laptop, plus a living stipend) and provides recipients full funding for three summers of global travel, research, and internships.[6][7] The summer components of the program have served as a model for DukeEngage, an initiative to offer the opportunity for summer research and internships to all Duke undergraduates [8][9]

Program participants have regularly won Truman Scholarships and Fulbright Fellowships. (2005).[8][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]


In December 2006, the Duke Student Government banned UNC-Chapel Hill based Robertson Scholars from participating in tenting for the Duke game versus UNC-Chapel Hill, although they can still get in via the walk-up line. This caused considerable controversy on the campus and garnered national media attention.[18][19][20]

More recently, questions have been raised about the ability of Duke-based Robertson Scholars to vote in UNC-Chapel Hill student government elections.[21]


  1. ^ UNC, Duke announce winners of Robertson Scholarships. UNC-Chapel Hill News Services.
  2. ^ The Robertson Bus: Not Just for Students. Duke University Office of News & Communications.
  3. ^ Strachman, D. A. (2004). Julian Robertson: tiger in the land of bulls and bears. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
  4. ^ Forbes 400 Richest Americans—Julian Robertson
  5. ^ Board of Directors. Robertson Scholars Program.
  6. ^ Robertson Scholars Program. Duke University Undergraduate Financial Aid Office.
  7. ^ Greensboro student wins UNC-Duke scholarship. Greensboro News-Record.
  8. ^ a b Duke Program Seeks to Expand Service Work. The New York Times.
  9. ^ New Support for Community Service. Inside Higher Education.
  10. ^ Peterson's smart choices: honors programs & colleges. Princeton, N.J.: Peterson's.
  11. ^ Duke junior named Truman Scholar. Duke University Office of News & Communications.
  12. ^ UNC’s Lauren McAlee wins $30,000 Truman Scholarship. UNC News Services.
  13. ^ Robertson Scholar E. Mary Williams wins Truman Scholarship. Robertson Scholars Program.
  14. ^ Frequently Asked Quesitons. Robertson Scholars Program.
  15. ^ 2007 Truman Scholars. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
  16. ^ The Power of One. The Duke Chronicle.
  17. ^ Rutland graduation speaker is just 21. Rutland Herald.
  18. ^ Krzyzewskiville closed to joint scholars from North Carolina. "USA Today." Accessed on 12 Dec 2006.
  19. ^ Discrimination at Duke The Daily Tar Heel.
  20. ^ UNC outrage spurs Duke rebuke. News & Observer.
  21. ^ BOE lets Duke students vote. The Daily Tar Heel.

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