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The Duchossois Leadership Scholars Program

Building Tomorrow's Leaders

The Duchossois Leadership Scholars Program at Illinois Institute of Technology is a nationally preeminent, elite scholarship program aimed at top students from across the country who have demonstrated exceptional leadership potential and academic success in their projected field.

The program will challenge scholars—through course study, mentorships, internships, service, and leadership development activities—to think boldly and creatively in their field, and across disciplines. The program will provide scholars with the opportunity and support to experiment and pursue extraordinary work.

Students interested in the Duchossois Leadership Scholars Program will complete a special application, interview, and selection process. The selection will emphasize students from different disciplines and areas of interest. The program is open to undergraduate students who are United States citizens or permanent residents.

The blend of diverse academic interests with a commitment to leadership activities will allow the Duchossois Leadership Scholars to work collaboratively across disciplines and to challenge one another to think and lead outside the boundaries of their discipline.

Scholars Selection Criteria

The goal of the Duchossois Leadership Scholars Program is to attract promising young leaders to Illinois Institute of Technology and to develop them into future leaders of business, government, and academe. The Duchossois Leadership Scholars represent the highest level of our nation's high school talent pool who have demonstrated exceptional leadership abilities and provided exceptional services to their communities.

Duchossois Scholars may be selected only prior to entering Illinois Tech as first-year students; currently enrolled students are not eligible. Students majoring in any program are eligible. Students competing for the scholars program must be United States citizens or permanent residents, and satisfy high selection standards including:

  • An outstanding academic ability with a minimum 3.5 high school GPA, and ACT/SAT scores in the top 10 percent nationally
  • Strong leadership potential with demonstrated extra-curricular leadership activity
  • Outstanding communication skills, a positive personality, and a capacity for original thought
  • A sense of caring that reaches beyond self

Students must complete a supplemental application for the Duchossois Leadership Scholars Program (including an essay, resume, and two letters of recommendation) in addition to the regular application for admission to Illinois Tech. If selected as a finalist from the pool of applicants, students must interview during Scholarship Weekend in mid-February on Illinois Tech's Mies Campus in Chicago. Finalists will interview with a committee that will include the Duchossois Leadership Professors and current Duchossois Leadership Scholars. The interview committee will make recommendations to a final selection committee staffed by senior IIT administration.

Students coming from households with an annual income of $200,000 or more are not eligible for the Duchossois Leadership Scholarship.

Scholars Benefits

Duchossois Leadership Scholars will receive the following scholarship benefits to allow them to attend and participate in leadership and academic activities at Illinois Institute of Technology:

  • Full Tuition—Duchossois Leadership Scholars will be provided a full-tuition scholarship for undergraduate study at Illinois Tech for up to four years, provided they maintain the criteria of the scholarship; or for up to five years for students pursuing a joint B.S./M.S. program or another baccalaureate degree program that normally requires five years to complete, provided they continue to meet the criteria of the scholarship.
  • Room and Board Allowance—Duchossois Leadership Scholars will be provided with support to cover 100 percent of their meal plans and housing on Main Campus, including residence halls and fraternity/sorority housing. A requirement of the Duchossois Leadership Scholars Program is that scholars must live on campus for their first two years. No room and board support will be provided for scholars who choose to live off-campus after their second year.
  • Summer Educational Experience—Duchossois Leadership Scholars will take part in a fully funded summer educational experience each summer after the students' first, second, and third years at IIT. Summer educational experiences may be led by one of the four Duchossois Leadership Professors and could include an international experience, a community or government service experience, a summer internship with a corporate entity, or another leadership and service activity designed by a Duchossois Leadership Professor.
  • Fall Retreat—Duchossois Leadership Scholars will take part in a fully funded team-building experience once per academic year. Previous retreats have included a segway tour of Chicago, a cooking class, and a room escape adventure.
  • Mentoring—Each Duchossois Leadership Scholar will receive ongoing mentoring and leadership support by both an assigned Duchossois Leadership Professor and third-year Duchossois Leadership Scholars. These close, supportive relationships will support scholars' ongoing projects in their areas of interest and nurture their leadership activities on campus or in the community. Scholars and Duchossois Leadership Professors will be paired according to disciplinary interests, personal background, personal relationships, and career goals.
  • Duchossois Leadership Scholars Dinner—Each year, at the end of the spring semester, all Duchossois Leadership Scholars and Duchossois Leadership Professors will be invited to a celebratory dinner to report on their academic and community leadership progress, to discuss summer plans, and to reflect on their time as participants in the Duchossois Leadership Program.
  • Duchossois Scholars will be provided the opportunity to meet with the donor each year. IIT will work with the donor to schedule and organize this meeting.
  • The students will bear their expenses for books, fees, reference materials, computers and/or other learning tools.

Ongoing Scholarship Requirements

The Duchossois Leadership Scholars Program focuses on engagement that develops young leaders throughout their academic career at the university. As such, the scholars are expected to participate in the program's activities and maintain good academic and personal standing at the university.

  • Scholars must maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher. Students with GPAs that drop below 3.25 for two consecutive semesters become ineligible to continue as Duchossois Scholars.
  • Scholars must participate in designated programming and other leadership opportunities on campus, and have a good record of university citizenship.
  • Scholars must agree in writing to share their academic performance including grades each semester, and to submit a report annually to the Duchossois Family Foundation on their achievements and experiences.
  • Developing leaders with a passion for service and making an impact on their community is integral to the program. In lins with this mission, students will sign a letter of intent to make annual $100 donations to the unversity upon graduation.

Application Timeline

December 1: Duchossois Leadership Scholars application due along with application to Illinois Institute of Technology
January: Duchossois Leadership Scholars finalists notified by mail
February: Duchossois Leadership Scholars finalists scheduled for on-campus interview
March: Duchossois Leadership Scholars chosen and notified of selection

Steps to Apply

  • Complete and submit an application for regular admission through the Common Application.
  • Complete and submit the application below, which will include:
    • An essay (500 word limit) describing the importance of leadership and service. Please provide specific examples of how you will contribute to those ideals at Illinois Institute of Technology.
    • Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who know you well and can assess your commitment to leadership and service. The application contains a link for you to email to your recommenders. You may also use letters submitted through the Common Application, if they are on topic.

Start your application!