The John B. Ervin Scholars Program was founded on four pillars—academic excellence, leadership, community service, and diversity. All our scholars are expected to exemplify these ideals to be competitive for this program.
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.
For more information, visit the program website at
The Ervin Scholars Program is open only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Students who apply to any undergraduate division may apply for the Ervin Scholars Program. A separate application and additional letter of recommendation are required.
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 these activities.
To apply for the John B. Ervin 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 Ervin Scholars Program.
- Write a brief answer (150 words) to the following question:
Describe a high school or community activity in which you have taken initiative. What were the challenges and outcomes? What did you learn?
- Write a short essay (250 words) on the following topic:
Review the biography of Dr. John B. Ervin and the four Program Pillars. How have you demonstrated your commitment to the ideals of the Program? Please provide 1-2 specific examples.
- 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.
John B. Ervin
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.