Program Timeline

On a Hill in the Jungle - Cameron ZohooriOrientation Retreat

Shortly before the start of first-year fall semester, incoming Scholars participate in a leadership retreat facilitated by instructors from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC. During the four-day retreat, Scholars develop leadership and communication skills during guided hikes and whitewater rafting expeditions in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Robbie Love - Elizabeth LynchFirst-Year Dinner Series

The dinner series is an opportunity for first-year Scholars to develop practical life skills and to discuss a wide range of subjects with guest speakers. Topics include etiquette, personality assessments, personal finance, and more.


The Robertson First-Year Colloquium is a one-semester course taken during the Scholar’s first year. It provides a philosophical foundation for the discussion of issues impacting society at large and ethical challenges facing today’s leaders. This course offers Scholars a chance to develop an ethical framework for leading and provides a unique, Robertson-only space to strengthen intellectual ties among the class.

Mountain Sunrise - Hunter DouglasCommunity Summer

Scholars spend the summer after their first year living together and participating in community service internships in the United States. Community Summer locations include Cleveland (MS), New Orleans (LA), Tarboro (NC), and Whitesburg (KY). This summer is designed to strengthen Scholars’ relationships with each other and to increase awareness of the social and economic challenges of various geographic regions in the US. The Community Summer begins around June 1 and lasts at least eight weeks. For specific examples of Community Summer experiences, see Scholar Snapshots.

Engineers on the Switch - Lina ColucciCampus Switch

During the second semester of their sophomore year, Scholars live and take classes on their sister campus. The Campus Switch is designed to build stronger educational and community ties between UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, and to offer Scholars the opportunity to adapt to new situations and thrive in challenging environments. The Robertson Program strives to build a community of students who are acclimated to the culture of both campuses, who regularly navigate between them, and who have a sense of allegiance to both universities. During and beyond the Campus Switch, Robertson Scholars serve as ambassadors of cross-campus collaboration and leadership.


Through a new Program entitled “Rethink” Scholars are urged to challenge biases, prejudices, and social hierarchies surrounding gender, intersectionality, and leadership. Rethink programming spans all four years as a Robertson, but is concentrated during Sophomore year. The program is based on participatory, seminar-style meetings with discussions, activities, and small group work.

South African Step - Ned HardisonExploration Summer

Scholars spend the summer after their sophomore year exploring academic and cultural interests, either domestically or internationally. Scholars can participate in a university-sponsored program, or they can propose a self-designed project to pursue individually or with other students. For specific examples of Exploration Summer experiences, see Scholar Snapshots.

Contemplating a Broken Water Pump - Cameron ZohooriLaunch Summer

Scholars spend the summer after their junior year engaged in an independent, self-designed project intended to focus their interests and launch them into life after college. Projects have included research for honors theses, pre-professional internships, and expansions of work undertaken in previous Robertson summers.  For specific examples of Launch Summer experiences, see Scholar Snapshots.

Braveen! - Megan MorikawaSenior Capstone

The Robertson Senior Capstone Experience is designed to support senior Scholars in their transition from college to the next stage of their careers. The Capstone includes a winter retreat and a dinner series that gives senior Robertson Scholars a chance to combine reflection on their four-year experience with conversations with Robertson alumni and other leaders.