Program Expands to Develop Leaders in Ending Global Poverty

King Scholar Leadership Program founders Dottie and Bob King ’57 have made a $21 million gift to more than double their investment in the scholarship program they established to bring exceptional students from Latin America, Africa, and Asia to Dartmouth. The Kings’ gift will dramatically expand the program they founded in 2013 to support students from developing nations who are passionate about international leadership and global poverty alleviation. The recent gift brings the total investment in the program to more than $35 million.

The current King Scholars are, seated, from left, Loveridge Bere '18, Marc Sepama '17, and Eric Iradakunda '17, and standing, from left, Cherrie Kandie '18 and Faith Rotich '18. Not pictured is Theo Wilson '17. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

“Bob and Dottie King have created a program that exemplifies the kind of big ideas we want all of our students to embrace,” says President Phil Hanlon ’77. “And Dartmouth has produced exceptional and committed leaders since former president John Sloan Dickey first challenged students to take on the world’s troubles as their own. Now, through the King Scholar Leadership Program, Dartmouth is becoming a powerful magnet for talented students from developing nations who seek to eradicate poverty and foster opportunity. It is a bold initiative that will benefit students here at Dartmouth, create an international cadre of young leaders committed to this issue, and truly help improve the world.”

The enhanced King Scholar Leadership Program is a keystone of Dartmouth’s academic vision to create exceptional leaders to tackle the most significant global challenges of our times. The program selects students for their academic excellence, achievement, drive, aptitude, and commitment to fighting poverty in their own countries. Candidates are identified through intensive admissions recruiting and a global network of Dartmouth alumni and friends who nominate applicants.

Six King Scholars—from Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe—have matriculated at Dartmouth since 2013. The Kings’ most recent gift was inspired by the success of these early scholars and will increase their number to 24 over the next four years. Within the next decade, more than 50 King Scholars will receive a Dartmouth degree coupled with co-curricular experiences to prepare them to contribute to poverty eradication in their home countries.

The gift will also introduce important new program features, including an annual King Leadership Week in Washington, D.C. or New York City to expose first- and second-year King Scholars to leading development organizations, government agencies, and private sector firms. King Scholars will spend portions of their junior and senior years participating in internships with organizations such as the World Justice Project, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, foreign ministries, international banking institutions, and a number of other global NGOs. Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding will administer these new programs.

The King Scholar Leadership Program is the College’s largest endowed scholarship program for international students, and was inspired by the Kings’ belief that the best way to support positive changes in the world is to invest in the people who will make them.

“What makes this program unique and successful is twofold,” says Bob King. “It brings exceptional students who have themselves lived in poverty and encourages them to use their perspective to make real change happen. Dottie and I want to change lives country by country, and we believe these scholars are the best investment we can make in the future.”

Bob and Dottie King have long been passionate about addressing global poverty, and have focused much of their philanthropy on poverty alleviation initiatives. In addition to the King Scholar Leadership Program at Dartmouth, the Kings founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth in 1995 to help children in under-resourced communities reach their full potential. In 2011, the Kings founded the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies at Stanford Graduate School of Business.