Established in 1974 by Henry Luce, who was born in China and was co-founder of Time Incorporated, the Luce Scholars Program provides stipends and internships for 18 young Americans to live and work in Asia each year. The program's purpose is to increase awareness of Asia among future leaders in American society.

The Scholarships

The Luce is technically not a scholarship at all; it is a year-long internship in an Asian country selected by the Luce Foundation for which students are paid a salary at about the level of a senior faculty member in that country. All travel costs are covered. Three week-long conferences for Luce Scholars are held during the Luce year. Davidson is among the 65 American colleges and universities which may nominate two students or alumni (who must be 29 years old or younger at the beginning of the Luce year) for the cultural experience. It is designed for young leaders who have no previous experience of Asia and very limited course work or travel in the orient. Asian Studies majors are ineligible.

The Application

A biographical information form listing activities, awards, foreign travel, employment, and languages other than English; a transcript and photograph; and a 1,000-word essay outlining career interests and plans for the future.

Who Should Apply

Students and young alumni with exceptionally high academic achievement, evidence of outstanding leadership, mature and clearly defined career interest in a specific field, and evidence of potential for professional accomplishment. Successful candidates are creative, self-confident, enthusiastic, sensitive and mature. A candidate must be an American citizen who has earned at least a bachelor's degree before taking part in the program. Candidates may be no more than 29 years old at the time they enter the program and cannot have had significant exposure to Asian culture or Asian studies.

Campus Procedure

Undergraduate Luce applicants should speak with Prof. Shelley Rigger ( early in the fall of their senior year. College endorsed applications are forwarded on to the Luce Foundation.


Four, representing a range of accomplishments.

Luce Application Deadline

The first day of November.

Luce Interviews

The Luce process is highly rigorous. Approximately 120 candidates for the Luce are interviewed by foundation staff members in late December or early January. On the basis of their review, 45 finalists are named and are invited to three regional centers for selection committee interviews. Each regional committee names six winners, who are informed almost immediately following the interview.

Learn More

For more information, contact Prof. Shelley Rigger at For additional resources, contact the Fellowships and Scholarships Program, Center for Career Development at or schedule an appointment through Handshake (login required). Also visit the official Luce Scholars website.

Davidson Luce Scholars

2007 - Dane A. Erikson (China)

2006 - Elizabeth Marie Melchionna (Thailand)

2001 - Jason Prince

1991 - Mark Sandy (Japan)

1985 - Lillian Grace Woo (Malaysia)

1981 - Robert F. Campany (Taiwan)