About the Luce Scholars

Per the Luce Foundation website: 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.

Luce Scholars have backgrounds in virtually every field other than Asian studies, including but not limited to the arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations.

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to develop a new level of understanding of Asia among future leaders of American society. The program is aimed at students with varied academic backgrounds who demonstrate leadership and have had no prior experience in Asian affairs. Leadership can be broadly defined by the following characteristics: initiative, creativity, the respect of one’s peers, maturity, strength of character, self-confidence tempered by self-awareness, a sense of responsibility, sensitivity, a positive personality.

Luce Scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights on 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.

The “Luce year” begins in late June with orientation in New York and San Francisco. Luce Scholars engage in intensive language study in Asia in July and August. Placements begin in September, and conclude with a wrap-up meeting in July of the following year.

Scholarship Details and Eligibility

The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia.

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. Those who already have significant experience in Asia or Asian studies are not eligible for the Luce Scholars Program.

On the other hand, candidates may have taken Asian language or Asia-focused courses (without majoring in Asian Studies). They may have spent up to a total of twelve weeks in countries where Luce Scholars are placed.

Minimum Eligibility

At the time of application, an applicant must:

  • be a U.S. Citizen
  • be no more than 29 years old on September 1 of the year they enter the program
  • have earned a bachelors degree before taking part in the program
  • have a minimum G.P.A. of 3.5 (though the average recipient GPA is above 3.70.
  • have USC endorsement

Luce Scholar candidates are nominated by seventy-five colleges and universities. The Luce Foundation cannot accept individual applications submitted directly to the foundation.

Successful candidates should have a record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability, and clearly defined interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments.

Campus Endorsement Process

Competitive applicants seeking USC Endorsement will:

1. Research the Luce Scholars website and thoroughly review the Frequently Asked Questions.

2. Review the Application which provides guidance for the application process, including general regulations, conditions of eligibility, the basis of selection, and the method of selection.

3. Review the Placement Process which discusses the experiential nature of the program and offers examples about previous Luce Scholar Placements.

4. Review the Program Year which details the unique Luce Scholar orientation, language learning, and placement experience.

5. Request letters of recommendation from your referees.

6. Meet with an Academic Honors and Fellowships advisor to discuss the application process and interest in applying.

7. Submit a complete Luce Scholars Application, including four letters of recommendation, by Monday October 2, 2017 at 5pm.  All applications will be reviewed; however, only competitive applicants will be invited to a campus endorsement interview.

Campus Interview Process

After an initial screening, competitive applicants will be invited to interview before a USC faculty panel.  Once interviewed, impressive applicants will be supported with University Endorsement.  Applicants must receive University Endorsement to apply for the national competition.  The University may nominate up to three Luce Scholar candidates in each application cycle.

Recent Luce Scholar Bios & Placements

Bios & Placements of 2016-2017 Luce Scholars

Bios & Placements of 2015-2016 Luce Scholars

Bios & Placements of 2014-2015 Luce Scholars

Bios & Placements of 2013-2014 Luce Scholars

USC Luce Scholars

  • 1975: Laurie M. Phillips
  • 1978: Daniel A. Waxer
  • 1982: Douglas N. Hamilton
  • 1983: Dennis J. Scannell
  • 1988: Amy R. Forbes
  • 1991: Pamella J. Dana and William S. Gregory
  • 1997: Nicole M. Fraser
  • 2000: Tyler Kelley
  • 2001: John R. Cochran IV and Caroline P. Hennen
  • 2005: Samuel A. Bazzi
  • 2006: Roberto C. Padilla
  • 2007: Miles Dail Killingsworth
  • 2011: Craig Western
  • 2013: Tamara Shogaolu

USC AHF Advisor

Erica Lovano McCann
lovano@usc.edu