retreat-groupDesigned to stimulate an interdisciplinary, inter-generational community of scholars, the University Scholars Program was created in 1998 by the Office of the Vice-Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies with a gift from Duke University Trustee Emerita Melinda French Gates and her husband Bill Gates, through the William H. Gates Foundation.

The University Scholars Program welcomed its first matriculating class in 1999.  This innovative program was the first of its kind in the United States and around the world, bringing together undergraduates, graduate students, and students from Duke’s professional schools to meet regularly through seminars, informal mentoring, programmatic retreats, and student-led symposia.  Other universities and colleges have sought to emulate certain aspects of the USP, but the interdisciplinary-minded community of students at various stages of tertiary and post tertiary education remains unique.