The SMU President’s Scholars Program

  • Annual President's Scholar Reception at the home of President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner.
    Oct. 22, 2014
  • Senior PSs Paul Kinney, Daniel Trujillo, Mary Katherine Shoemaker, Kelly Kiser, Janice Kim. Fantine Giap (alum), Kathleen Strauss, Taylor Kara, and Farbeen Safa. Homecoming 2014.
  • Having a blast in Oxford! Stonehenge, July 2014.
    President's Scholars, Emily Dunn, Danh Nguyen, Garrett Fisher, Anna Norkett, Janice Kim, Noah Mendoza.
  • Annual retreat at the SMU-in-Taos campus,
    Sept. 2014. Associate Provost Harold Stanley talking with the group in the SMU-in-Taos auditorium.
  • Annual retreat at the SMU-in-Taos campus,
    Sept. 2014. First Year Ashmi Patel getting ready for PS tradition: Taos Chairs
  • Caleb Kyle, Garrett Fisher, Alex Munoz, Derek Phanekham, Janice Kim, Anna Norkett, Emily Dunn, Noah Mendoza, Danh Nguyen
    PS Love in Oxford! 2014
  • PS juniors Mary Katherine Shoemaker, Farbeen Safa, and Daniel Trujillo at CERN in Geneva.
    Fall 2013
  • PS juniors Mary Katherine Shoemaker, Kathleen Strauss, Farbeen Safa, Daniel Trujillo,
    and Taylor Kara on the Charles Bridge in Prague. Fall 2013
  • First Year President's Scholars, Madeleine Case, Finley Patterson, and Noah Bartos after crossing the Gorge Bridge. SMU-in-Taos Annual Retreat, Sept. 2014.
  • President's Scholars engage in a political discussion during the last election.
  • Gorge Bridge; Annual retreat at the SMU-in-Taos campus, Sept. 2014. President's Scholars on the Gorge Bridge in New Mexico.
  • The historic Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos, New Mexico. President's Scholars enjoying lunch and lecture with Dr. Jim Hopkins. 2014 Retreat.
  • Junior Garrett Fisher reading information about nuclear weapons at the Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Retreat 2014.
  • Hart Global Leaders Forum
    Dalai Lama Lecture
    May 9, 2011
  • Tate Lecture Series speaker Katie Couric at the Student Forum, Nov. 2011.
  • "Boulevarding", Sept. 8, 2012. President's Scholars Becca Rothstein, Alex Munoz, Anna Norkett, Derek Hamamoto, Sean Grady, Brendan Celii, Kelsey Montgomery, and Emily Wu.
  • Museum Visit
    President's Scholars at the Perot Museum.
  • Rahfin Faruk and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus.


Each year SMU invites 20-25 of the most gifted students in the first-year entering class to receive President’s Scholarships, the highest academic merit awards given by the University. The President’s Scholars program is so named because it represents the University’s highest commitment to attract and serve high-achieving students. President’s Scholarships provide full-tuition and fees.

International Study

Scholars also receive travel expenses and tuition for study abroad, choosing from more than 100 programs throughout the world. Some President’s Scholars take advantage of SMU summer programs abroad, while others compete to be admitted as students for a year at prestigious universities abroad such as those in Great Britain.

Meeting world leaders

Scholars also have opportunities to meet world leaders on campus for the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series, which sponsors several of the scholars. In its 33 years, the Series has brought to campus three former U.S. presidents, nine foreign heads of state, eight Nobel Laureates, and two Supreme Court Justices. For more information, the Tate web site can be visited at

A community of learners and leaders

President’s Scholars join a tight-knit community of highly motivated students and dedicated faculty and staff mentors. Activities throughout the year include the annual retreat at the SMU-in-Taos campus, located on the site of a pre-civil war fort and a 13th century Anasazi pueblo nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Northern New Mexico. Dinner-discussions at faculty members’ homes bring scholars together with other professors for conversations on the hot topics of the day. Many scholars interact with corporate and community leaders who underwrite their scholarships and offer mentoring opportunities. SMU President R. Gerald Turner also welcomes scholars to his home for special events.

President’s Scholars are invited to join the University Honors Program, which fosters an intellectual community through challenging interdisciplinary courses, student-initiated research, internships, and classes taught by exceptional faculty ( It is not unusual for President’s Scholars to combine double or triple majors across disciplines, while also actively participating in campus life. After graduation, many continue their studies at distinguished medical, law, and other graduate schools throughout the world.

Many President’s Scholars are leaders in student government and serve on committees of the SMU Board of Trustees, the governing body of the University. SMU is one of the few universities in the nation to have a voting student member on its Board of Trustees, along with student members serving on all Board committees.

Since its founding in 1982, the President’s Scholars Program has provided a world of opportunity to some of the nation’s brightest students, who in turn enrich the University environment with their intellectual vitality, diverse talents, and campus involvement.  

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