Our Mission

The McKnight Scholars Leadership Program identifies, equips, and empowers young scholars to become life-giving leaders.

Purpose and Practice

The McKnight Scholar Leadership Program begins with the selection of a diverse community of out-of-state undergraduate students with a passion for service and the extraordinary potential for influence. 

Typically, 50 students are chosen each academic year based on the following criteria:

  • Out-of-State Student

  • 27 ACT

  • 3.75 High School GPA

  • Proven Leadership Ability 

  • Committment to Service

It is the expectation that McKnight Scholars become more aware of their passions and aptitudes while gaining skills to foster collaboration in following those passions. Our students graduate with an understanding of how communities grow and improve and how they can make an impact on their home community. The program seeks to compliment the scholars’ entire Oklahoma State University experience bringing a rich context and focus to their academic journey.


The McKnight Scholar Leadership Program began in 2011 through a $10 million gift from Ross and Billie McKnight.  The endowment includes a waiver of out-of-state tuition for four undergraduate years as well as a $5,000 scholarship for the freshman and sophomore years.  The McKnight family believes strongly in the ability of OSU to prepare students to be change agents in their respective professions, and as such, chose to invest in students through the McKnight Scholar Leadership Program.  To date, this program has served over 200 students and the seventh class joined us on campus in the Fall Semester of 2017.


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