College Experience

Scholarship Information

Tower Scholarships for the Study of Politics and Government

Southern Methodist University created The John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies to commemorate the late U.S. Senator whose life was dedicated to understanding the needs and challenges of a world that has become a global village. The mission of the Tower Center includes the commitment to developing new teaching programs which encourage outstanding students to undertake the study of politics and to enter public service.

As part of its mission, the Tower Center has established the Tower Institute. The Institute, a summer program for study of politics and government, is offered in conjunction with SMU’s College Experience Program and is for CE students. Beginning in the summer of 1997, up to five scholarships have been provided annually. Recipients of these scholarships will be designated “Tower Scholars.” Unlike other CE scholarships, Tower awards can be made based on merit as well as financial need.

Students wishing to be considered for a Tower Scholarship must apply to the College Experience Program and be formally accepted into the program. Potential recipients must also agree to enroll in one of the courses offered in Political Science.

In addition, those wishing to be considered as “Tower Scholars” must attach the following to the application forms for the College Experience Program:

  1. A brief letter asking to be considered for a Tower Institute scholarship;
  2. A statement, not to exceed 300 words, explaining why the study of government and politics is important, and
  3. A letter of recommendation from a social studies teacher who knows the applicant well.

John G. Tower, Teacher and Public Servant

In 1961, as an unknown university professor, John Tower ran in a special race to fill the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Lyndon Johnson, who was elected vice president in 1960. Tower won the special election and represented Texas in the United States Senate from 1961 until 1985. From 1981 to 1985 he chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee. After his retirement from the Senate, President Ronald Reagan appointed him as U.S. Negotiator on strategic nuclear arms with the rank of ambassador. The following year he chaired the President’s Special Review Board after the Iran-Contra affair. In 1990, President George Bush appointed him as chair of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Throughout his public life, however, John Tower never ceased to be a university professor. While still a U.S. Senator, he lectured at Southern Methodist University, his alma mater, and upon his retirement from the Senate, he served as a Distinguished Lecturer and regularly taught a course on national security. John Tower died in a plane crash in New Brunswick, Georgia, on April 5, 1991.