Robertson Scholars create a powerful community capable of achieving more than the sum of its parts.
Robertson Scholars represent the best and brightest students from the United States and abroad. Although they are diverse in their interests, backgrounds and perspectives, they form a collection of individuals who are intellectually curious, committed to service, and adventurous in spirit. When this group of individuals comes together to form a community, great things happen.
Several core components of the Robertson Scholars experience are designed to foster camraderie among scholars within the same class. Other more informal programs bring together scholars from different classes and campuses.
First-Year Scholar NOLS Retreat
Each scholar class begins its journey with a five-day leadership retreat at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, North Carolina, held the week before the fall semester begins. Led by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), this retreat allows incoming first-year students to bond and begin to evaluate their leadership style, capacities, and challenges.
First-Year Dinner Series
During their first semester, first-year scholars attend a monthly dinner series that features speakers and discussions oriented around themes relevant to Robertson Scholars themselves and to the program. Speakers such as UNC-Chapel Hill's Chancellor, Duke's President, and distinguished professors and community leaders lead the group in discussing issues of importance to the universities and the surrounding communities. These monthly dinners give scholars from both campuses the opportunity to be part of these conversations and connect with each other.
Dinners for Eight
Scholars also have the opportunity to choose the theme of the discussion. In the program's ongoing "Dinners for Eight" series, any Robertson Scholar may apply to invite a guest of interest to participate in an intimate dinner engagement and in-depth conversation. The first seven scholars to sign-up become the dinner party, and the initiating scholar takes responsibility for planning and leading the event.
In their second semester, all first-year Robertson Scholars enroll in the Robertson Colloquium, a full-credit academic course that challenges scholars to think deeply about the values that define their character, inform their educational aspirations, and guide their leadership endeavors. The course meets half the semester at Duke and half at UNC-Chapel Hill.
In their last semester on campus, senior Robertson Scholars at both universities participate in the Senior Capstone, which focuses on leadership, ethics, and the role that graduating scholars will play in shaping the world as they leave college and move on to future challenges.