Luce Scholarship

History   |   Description   |   Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |   Checklist

History and Purpose

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership. A not-for-profit corporation, the Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.    

Description of the Luce Scholarship

The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year in a variety of fields, including but not limited to the arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations. The program is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who have had limited experience of Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia. Luce Scholars receive a monthly stipend, augmented when necessary by a cost-of-living allowance and a housing allowance.

Luce Scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights about their host countries through immersive living and working experiences in Asia. A professional placement is individually arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her professional interest, background, and qualifications. Placements can be made in the following countries or regions: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Although placements may be made at universities, the Luce program is not for study. Rather, the “Scholar” is expected to make a professional contribution to a host organization.

Eligibility Requirements and Rules for Nomination
Applicants must have/be:
  • US citizens
  • seniors, graduate students, or young professionals up to 30 years old
  • any major discipline of study except Asian Studies although minors and those who have taken some Asian-language courses are eligible
  • limited experience of Asia through travel – those with significant experience in Asia are not eligible; candidates may have spent up to a total of twelve weeks in countries where Luce Scholars are placed
  • a record of high academic achievement (GPA 3.5+ recommended but not required), outstanding leadership ability, and clearly defined career interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments
  • personal qualities such as flexibility, adaptability, creativity, humility, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences
  • in physical health that will not restrict them from working in a foreign environment
  • nominated by the College – Mount Holyoke may nominate up to three applicants per year
How to apply

Applications are available on the Luce website.  The application must be downloaded and filled in, then saved and printed. Interested students should contact National Fellowships Advisor Christine Overstreet to discuss their candidacy and work with her on preparing their application for submission to the Committee on Fellowships. The Committee, made up of faculty members and chaired by the Dean of Studies, reviews applications, interviews candidates, and decides which candidates to nominate. Nominees will then revise their materials as recommended and submit a hard copy to Christine who will send it, with accompanying materials and an endorsement letter, to the Luce Foundation. Senior Administrative Assistant Marianne Taylor collects application materials, maintains records, schedules appointments, and co-facilitates the application process.

Application components
  • Application form including biographical data; contact information; educational experience; schools/training programs; work experiences; major non-academic activities since high school noting significant achievements; membership in learned, scientific, professional or artistic societies; creative or published work; honors, awards, or fellowships; travel experience; language proficiencies; summary of five most valuable college courses; health/legal record disclosure; space for other relevant comments; and a personal statement (see below) – application is a text box electronic form; candidates must make sure their answers are visible on screen in text boxes or the text will not print
  • Personal Statement discussing long-range career interests and how they have developed; your understanding of leadership; your reasons for applying to the Luce Scholars Program
  • Four letters of Recommendation representing a range of academic and professional references; should be signed and on letterhead, if possible
  • Official transcripts of all college and graduate work including summer and study abroad
  • Two photos – recent passport-sized color photos with name printed on the back of each
Campus Process and Checklist

Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
Summer/Early Fall Make appointment to discuss candidacy with National Fellowships Advisor; solicit potential recommenders; order transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate study - have sent directly to Academic Deans Office
September Send personal statement draft and entire application to Christine if feedback is desired before submission to Committee
Mon. October 9th Candidates submit hard copies, one-sided, or pdf of all application materials to Christine in Academic Deans Office
October 19-23 Interview with Committee on Fellowships; endorsement decisions made; candidates notified
By October 26th Nominees submit revised materials to Christine in print, one-sided, signed, or as pdf signed; also submit two photos; recommenders send letters to Christine in hard copy (on letterhead and signed if not done previously)
By November 2 Christine sends all application materials, with endorsement, to Luce
November/December Luce interviews each nominee via Skype - this is part of the application process and does not signify finalist status
Early January 45 finalists selected from nominee pool and invited to meet with one of three selection committees in February (Luce Foundation pays travel expenses)
Mid-February Selected candidates notified via mail; scholars announced; process of making individual placements begins
Late June Luce year begins with orientations in New York and San Francisco