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MLK Scholars and Alum Spring 23

Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK, Jr.) Scholarship

The Woodruff – Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship covers full tuition, fees, and on-campus housing and meals for high-achieving Emory College undergraduates from the Metro Atlanta area. Part of the Emory Scholars Program and community, MLK Scholars participate in all scholar programming and enjoy the benefits of scholar advising, ability to apply for summer funding, use of the Scholar Lounge, travel opportunities, and more.


All students from public schools in the Metro Atlanta counties of Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton (including City of Atlanta Public Schools), Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale are eligible. Applicants from independent schools in these counties will also be considered if they have been supported by scholarships at those schools.

Students must apply to Emory by the Scholar deadline of November 15 and indicate in the application that they are interested in being considered for merit-based awards. No separate application is required. MLK Scholars are only selected during the admission process.

Applicants must be accepted to Emory and demonstrate promise in developing the Scholar Qualities. The selection process for Woodruff - MLK Scholars is identical to that of the standard Woodruff Scholarship.

Scholarship History

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship was formed through efforts of Emory faculty and students in the wake of King’s assassination in 1968. The scholarship has always been awarded based on high academic merit and a record of community involvement and leadership. Originally founded without geographical boundaries, the scholarship was reconceived in the late 1980s as a partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools.

Today, in recognition of the evolving landscape of Metro Atlanta, the scholarship serves the larger set of counties that make up the region. The scholarship has also become the Robert W. Woodruff-Martin Luther King, Jr Scholarship in acknowledgment of the generous support it receives from the Woodruff endowments.

Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert W. Woodruff

Robert W. Woodruff was a businessman and philanthropist of great influence in Atlanta during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. His vision for Atlanta as a forward-looking city included support for Martin Luther King, Jr and the belief that King and his legacy was of the utmost importance to the city.

In 1965, the city planned a banquet in honor of King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, but the business community was reluctant to support the Civil Rights leader whom they blamed for boycotts and other disruptions of their businesses. Woodruff stepped in, lending his support, and bringing the rest of the business community in line, leading to a highly successful event in recognition of King.

Upon King’s death, Woodruff also assisted the City of Atlanta with the costs of the funeral to ensure that the ceremony conveyed greatest respect for the fallen leader.

Alumni Connections

With a large alumni base in the Atlanta region, MLK Scholars have opportunities to connect with alumni throughout the year. Homecoming events with MLK alumni, the Annual Scholar Retreat, and the MLK Scholars Breakfast Reception during Emory King Week allow alumni to reconnect with each other and get to know the current scholars.

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