The Monroe Scholar Program began in 1984 as the "Presidential Scholar Program." In the early years, the only benefit the Scholars received was the opportunity to live in a designated Presidential Scholar residence Hall. (Alan Meese, who now teaches in our law school, was a member of this first class of Scholars.) As a result of our efforts to raise private funds, we added a guaranteed summer research grant of $2,000 in 1992 and were able to increase this award to $3,000 in 2003. Further fundraising successes have allowed us to add research grants after the freshman year, increase the scale of our lunch seminar series, and build a comprehensive advising program designed to assist Scholars applying for prestigious awards, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Goldwater, and Fulbright scholarships.
We have big plans for expanding the benefits that Monroe Scholars receive. Our highest priorities include increasing the size (currently $1,000) of the research stipends awarded to Monroes in the summer after their freshman year, supporting the honors thesis research of Monroes, and building a fund to assist with research costs and academic conference travel. With additional resources, we will be much closer to having a comprehensive program of support for our extraordinary students.