The UGA Libraries is now the repository of materials relating to the U.S. Presidential Scholars, an addition that will complement collections relating to gifted education.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars program was established in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson to honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. Each year, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.
The Presidential Scholars Alumni Association, which is a private organization separate from the program, was founded in 1996 to organize the alumni and make the Presidential Scholars a lifelong experience.
The materials were deposited with the university archives in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries in June on behalf of the alumni association by John Knox, an associate professor of geography at UGA and a 1983 Presidential Scholar who is vice chair of the alumni association and served as editor-in-chief of Fifty Years of U. S. Presidential Scholars: In Pursuit of Excellence, published this year. The collection includes photos and scrapbooks from Presidential Scholar alumni in addition to the memories and observations included in the anniversary publication. Additional material will be gathered through the alumni association for the collection.
Presidential Scholars alumni include almost 7,000 people, the top high school scholars of the last 50 years. The group has 59 Rhodes Scholars, 43 Marshall Scholars, university presidents, Grammy winners, Pulitzer winners, a U.S. poet laureate, a governor, an ambassador and a Miss America.