New Leadership Program to Honor Pioneering Duke Undergraduate

Reginaldo M. Howard Memorial Scholarship to transition to program supporting Black excellence, community

"Reggie Howard" was was killed in a car accident during his sophomore year, just a few months after being elected student body president.

“We hope that legacy will continue to inspire others as we forge a newly expanded path for Black excellence at Duke University and continue advancing Duke’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment that fully welcomes and engages all people.”

Duke established the scholarship in 1979 to provide support to meritorious Black undergraduate students who excelled academically and demonstrated a commitment to leadership and social justice.

Howard, an A.B. Duke Scholar and political science major from Columbia, S.C., was killed in a car accident during his sophomore year, just a few months after being elected president of the Associated Students of Duke University, then the primary organization of undergraduate student government.

A letter sent to current recipients of the scholarship on April 9 noted that the change was necessary “due to the legal landscape related to race-based considerations in higher education.” 

Scholarship recipients will continue to receive their pledged funding and resources throughout the remainder of their undergraduate careers. Although new merit scholarships will not be awarded, philanthropic support previously allocated for the scholarship will go toward supporting current Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholars through their graduation, the new leadership program and need-based financial aid.

The Office of University Scholars and Fellows (OUSF) and the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture will partner in administering the leadership program, which will build on the success of existing initiatives of the Mary Lou Williams Center, such as On the Way, Breaking Bread, and the Black Student Alliance Invitational (BSAI).