Each school year, a handful of sophomore students majoring in Politics will be chosen
to receive a Hatton W. Sumners scholarship. The award amount will be $10,000 per year
to help defray the cost of tuition, and will typically be awarded for two years. Sumners
Scholars are expected to attend certain programs sponsored by the Foundation, including
the Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series and the annual Sumners Scholars
Public Policy Seminar, typically held on a weekend in November. Sumners Scholars also
have special access to a variety of public policy, leadership, and civic participation
programs. Among the distinguished figures who have appeared in the Sumners Lecture
Series are Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Kay Bailey Hutchison, Czech President
Vaclav Klaus, pundit George Will, and Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.
During the spring semester, selected sophomores will be invited to apply by the university's Sumners Scholars Committee, which consists of selected faculty members of the Politics Department. Students eligible for nomination must be American citizens, and expect to receive a bachelor's degree at the end of three to five semesters beyond the current academic year. Nominees will be required to submit the following items: a completed application form (including standardized test scores, academic history, extracurricular activities, etc.); academic transcripts for undergraduate and graduate work; a resume; and an essay discussing the candidate's background, reasons for selecting the field of study, and future educational and career ambitions.
A panel comprised of selected Sumners Board of Trustees members will subsequently interview each nominee and determine which students will be awarded scholarships. The students selected will be those judged most likely to contribute to the Sumners Foundation's purpose of "encourag[ing] the study, teaching, and research into the science and art of self-government, to the end that the American People may understand the fundamental principles of democracy and be guided thereby in shaping governmental policies." This determination will be based upon the student's academic record; leadership potential; participation in community and civic affairs, including voting; responsiveness to interview questions; the quality of the essay; career goals, ambitions, and commitment; appearance and demeanor; and anything else disclosed during the interview which appears to be relevant.
The Scholarship award, once made, will be renewed without further application for the period designated in the scholarship award letter, provided the Sumners Scholars (1) maintain a minimum 3.4 cumulative grade point average at the end of each semester (students who fall below this average might not be renewed the following semester or year); (2) are full-time students (for undergraduates, at least 12 semester hours); (3) continue to be credibly enrolled as Politics majors, with their schedules approved every semester by an advisor in the Politics Department; (4) continue to be in good standing with the University; (5) as their schedules allow, attend events sponsored by the Sumners Foundation.