The Danforth Scholars Program honors students with a passion for helping others. We are looking for students who have demonstrated leadership in service and a strong commitment to community. Danforth Scholars are also known for their academic excellence, personal integrity, and high ideals.
Named in honor of William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth, the former Chancellor and First Lady of Washington University from 1971 to 1995, the program is a tribute to their exemplary leadership and service. The program is funded by friends of the Danforths.
Danforth Scholars may receive full- or half-tuition scholarships. The scholarship is renewed each year for the duration of the degree program, provided the scholar progresses academically and upholds the high standards of character required of scholars.
For more information, visit the program website at
Students who apply to any undergraduate division may apply for the Danforth Scholars Program. A separate application and additional letter of recommendation is required.
Please note - To provide all prospective students equal access to apply for the Danforth Scholars Program, we’ve eliminated the nomination requirement from the application process. This ensures students from under-resourced schools and communities will be able to apply for and be considered for this prestigious Scholars Program.
On-Campus Interviews for Finalists
WashU will invite finalists to campus for a weekend program, March 28–31, 2019. For these scholarships the university will pay for finalists’ round-trip expenses within the United States and their expenses in St. Louis during this visit. To remain eligible, finalists must attend this program.
To apply for the Danforth Scholars Program:
- Submit an application for admission to the Class of 2023.
- Log in to your
WashU Pathway account to submit the separate application for the Danforth Scholars Program.
- Write a brief answer (250 words) to the following question:
The Danforth Scholars program is looking for students with a strong commitment to community, and demonstrated initiative in leadership and service. Please share an example of your personal experience as a leader that would clarify why you would be a good fit for this community of scholars.
- Write a short essay (250-500 words) on the following topic:
What matters to you?
- Submit an additional (third) letter of recommendation from a member of your community who knows you well. If you submit an "other" letter of recommendation through the Common Application or Coalition Application, that letter may be used.
The application and letter of recommendation must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Central Time on January 2, 2019.
William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth
As the former Chancellor and First Lady of Washington University, the Danforths inspired countless others with their values, character, and commitment.
Dr. Danforth spent 20 years at the university as a medical resident, faculty member, and, eventually, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs. He began serving the university as its 13th Chancellor in 1971. When he retired 24 years later, he was credited with leading the effort that molded the University into one of the nation’s finest teaching and research institutions. Following his retirement as Chancellor, Dr. Danforth served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for four years and now is the University’s Chancellor Emeritus.
Dr. Danforth and the late Mrs. Danforth devoted countless hours to building the university and maintaining ties with its students and alumni. But their reach has extended well beyond the University. Dr. Danforth continues to be one of St. Louis’ most highly regarded public citizens and a tireless champion of the community.