The Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship, named after Duke University’s first African American student body president, is one of a handful of merit scholarships awarded by Duke University. Recipients of this prestigious scholarship are extraordinary individuals who exhibit a commitment to academic achievement, leadership, and community service and social justice. The scholarship pays full tuition, room and board. All scholars must maintain a respectable GPA annually to continue the benefits of the scholarship. This scholarship program specifically targets exemplary students of African descent.

In addition to the financial award, matriculating scholars become members of the Reginaldo Howard Scholars Organization. This organization includes a Faculty Advisor/Program Director, an Advisory Council consisting of the faculty and administration, and student officers.  An ongoing agenda of events and activities that keep alive the legacy of Reginaldo Howard keeps the group an active and visible one on campus and in the Durham community.


Reginaldo Howard, the scholarship’s namesake

Who was Reginaldo Howard?  Reginaldo “Reggie” Howard was the first African-American President of the Associated Students of Duke University (the primary organ of undergraduate student government at Duke). A sophomore political science major, Reggie was returning to Duke for a meeting from his home in Columbia, South Carolina, when he was killed in an automobile accident. His high academic standards, unquestioned integrity, sincere concern for others, and good humor made a deep impression on all who came into contact with him, and ultimately inspired the foundation of this award. Read more and watch a video.



Meet “Reggie” Faculty Director,
Dr. Charmaine Royal
 – Associate Professor African & African American Studies and Genome Sciences & Policy

Questions have always led Duke geneticist and bioethicist Charmaine Royal down the right path. A consummate researcher Royal formulated a list of questions when university leaders asked if she would consider guiding the Reginaldo Howard Scholars as their faculty director. The merit scholarship program is for domestic and international students of African descent. Administrators cited what Royal could add to the Reggie program. Royal defined her own questions. “What would the Reggies lose if I did not do this?” Royal asked herself. The questions continued. “Why would I want to do this? Where does directing the Reggies fall in terms of my desire to mentor, encourage, and support students who are only beginning to have an idea of what they want to do? How do I help them to get to where they need to be? It’s my answers to those questions that made me say yes.” Read more.