John B. Ervin was a nationally renowned black educator, scholar, and author who committed his life to the education of all people. In 1968, Dr. Ervin became dean of the School of Continuing Education at Washington University, the first African-American dean at the university. He was also very involved with the St. Louis community, holding leadership positions on boards of numerous organizations and foundations. The story of Dr. Ervin, born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in Kent, Ohio, is one of achievement and determination in the face of discrimination. A beloved member of the WashU community, Dr. Ervin is best remembered for his commitment to excellence, his engagement with the community, and his efforts to bring diverse people together to heal divisions among them.
In honor of Dr. Ervin, Washington University established the Ervin Scholars Program to help create a more diverse community on campus and recognize the intellectual, leadership, and service achievements of its students. If selected as an Ervin Scholar, you will be expected to participate in each component of the program, including orientation to WashU, meetings with university and community leaders, academic support and advising, and events with other Ervin Scholars and the program’s administrators. Ervin Scholars are also expected to engage in organizations and activities on campus and in service projects in the community.
We encourage you to apply for the John B. Ervin Scholars Program regardless of the undergraduate division you select on your application. The university is seeking students who demonstrate exceptional intellectual and leadership achievements, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and who have shown a commitment to community service. The program supports students with a commitment to bringing diverse people together.
The Ervin Scholars Committee will evaluate applications and invite finalists to Washington University for a four-day weekend program, including group activities and personal interviews. To remain eligible for the scholarships, finalists will need to come to Washington University March 30 - April 2, 2017, for these activities. Washington University will pay for finalists' round-trip expenses within the United States and their expenses in St. Louis during these four days.
- Submit an application for admission to the Class of 2021.
- Submit an Application for Academic Scholarships and Fellowships, checking the box for the Ervin Scholars Program.
- Write a brief response (150 words or less) to one of the following questions:
Write an essay of approximately 500 words on the following topic:
- Describe your most difficult challenge and how you approached it.
- In which of your high school or community activities do you take the greatest pride? Why?
Review the biography of Dr. John B. Ervin on this page, and reflect upon your academic and community experiences. Please describe your experience with diversity and your commitment to bringing diverse groups together. Then describe your commitment to leadership in your school and how you would continue that commitment at Washington University if you are selected as an Ervin Scholar. Include specific examples of your dedication to the ideals embraced by the Ervin Scholars Program.
Required: Submit an additional letter of recommendation from a member of your community who knows you well. You may use the form in this packet or request the recommendation electronically using the link in the WashU Pathway. If you submit an “other” letter of recommendation through the Common Application, that letter will be used for your Ervin Scholarship.
Submit an official high school transcript. If you have submitted the transcript required to apply for undergraduate admission, you will not need to submit an additional transcript.
Keep a copy of your completed scholarship application.