On-Campus Community Building

Dinners for 6

Dinners for 6 provide an opportunity for Scholars to invite a faculty member or community leader to dinner with 4 other Scholars. In the past, Dinners have been themed around diverse topics, including educational equity, Chinese politics, applying philosophy to everyday life, and more.

Coffees for 10

Coffees for 10 provide a way for a group of Scholars to meet and discuss a topic of professional or academic importance. They have encouraged mentorship and connections between Scholars and provided a structured way to further clarify program opportunities.

Robertson Collective

The Robertson Collective facilitates connection across cohorts by bringing ideas from the Robertson community to life. Scholars contribute their expertise and wisdom, explore their curiosity, and expand their leadership through a variety of experiences throughout the academic year and summers. 

Off-Campus Leadership Development

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All Robertson Scholars can apply to attend a week-long fully funded NOLS expedition any of their years in the Program. This expedition takes place during Spring Break and focuses on developing fundamental wilderness skills, applying the theory of outdoor leadership to everyday ventures and balancing the roles of leader and follower.

Lizzy Dive Underwater

LEAD Grants

Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) Grants support Scholars’ self-directed and experiential learning across disciplines - allowing Scholars to tap into their curiosity and explore outside of the classroom setting. Through LEAD Grants, Scholars have access, via application basis, to up to $1,000 per academic year to support their personal leadership development needs.

First Year Program

Orientation Retreat

Scholars begin their four years in the Robertson Program with a leadership expedition facilitated by the National Outdoor Leadership School. First-Years spend four days at the Natahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, NC where they engage in team building and cultivate a unique identity and leadership philosophy within their cohort.

First Year Dinner Series

The first year in the Robertson Program gives Scholars the opportunity to learn about themselves and establish relationships amongst their cohort. Through the First-Year Dinners, Robertson Scholars bond with their cohort and learn leadership skills that they will use in college and beyond.


The Colloquium in Ethics is the only required academic course that Robertson Scholars take together. It occurs during the spring semester of a Scholar's first year in the Program. The course encourages Scholars to examine their moral framework, understand the moral framework of others and consider the connection between ethics and leadership.

Sophomore Program

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Sophomore Retreat

Taking place in the fall semester of sophomore year, the Sophomore retreat offers a chance for students to reconnect and build community after their Community Summer together. Students and staff members spend the night away from campus and have the opportunity to take part in leadership and professional development programs.

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Sophomore Circle

Sophomore Circle is designed to help Scholars examine power, privilege and purposeful leadership. Through facilitated conversations, Scholars are encouraged to reflect on their own perspectives while learning about those of their peers. Sophomore Circle is a collaborative learning environment where Scholars select the topics they are most interested in exploring.

Junior & Senior Program

Values Dinner

During a Scholar's Junior Year, programming focuses on reflection exercises centered around the Robertson Values:

  • Purposeful Leadership
  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Strength of Character
  • Collaborative Spirit

By this time, Scholars have participated in two summers, a semester of Campus Switch, and many have studied abroad. The values reflection is an important opportunity to connect those experiences with their personal definition of leadership.

Speaker Series

Throughout Senior year, the Program invites artists, entrepreneurs, business owners, and many others to speak with our Seniors about various topics, each with the purpose of better preparing Scholars for graduation and beyond. Topics have included, but are not limited to: maintaining your personal brand, taking a circuitous route, overcoming professional obstacles, etc. Seniors dine with these speakers, hear from them, then have the opportunity to ask questions and network with these individuals.

Capstone Retreat

The Senior Capstone Retreat creates a space where Robertson Scholars and Alumni, with diverse interests but a common ambition of making a difference, can have rich conversations about the biggest challenges and opportunities they are confronting in their lives.

The weekend retreat, led by Robertson Alumni, helps Scholars reflect on their experiences thus far, in life and in college, and think forward to their next steps as they prepare to graduate. The retreat is meant to be a time of reflection and revelation for the seniors, with Robertson alumni present to ask questions and act as a sounding board.