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Mission & History

History of the Ingram Scholars Program

E Bronson IngramE. Bronson Ingram, chairman of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust from 1991 until his death in 1995, conceived of the Ingram Scholars Program in 1993 as a way to encourage Vanderbilt students to combine a professional career with a commitment to community service. Mr. Ingram's own life exemplified volunteerism and an untiring commitment to mobilizing the resources of the business community to assist nonprofit community groups. The Ingram Scholars Program is a natural development for Vanderbilt because of its longstanding and expanding commitment to community outreach and service.

The Ingram Scholars Program challenges the vision and energy of Vanderbilt students to excel both inside and outside the classroom. Ingram Scholars must maintain the high academic standards that are Vanderbilt's tradition as well as initiate and pursue volunteer projects in the community. The program sponsors students who demonstrate a willingness and ability to combine a successful business or professional career with a lifelong commitment to finding solutions to critical societal problems. The Ingram Scholars Program is distinguished by the requirement that the recipient not only volunteer for community service but also design and implement projects that address significant community needs. The program encourages Ingram Scholars to work with established not-for-profit and business groups and to create projects that become self-sustaining.

Among the largest gifts to the University was the multimillion-dollar gift to endow the Ingram Scholars Program, awarded each year to undergraduates who volunteer time while at Vanderbilt and demonstrate a commitment to combine a career in business or a business-related field with community service. The Ingram Scholars Program began in 1994 when four undergraduates and two incoming freshmen were awarded scholarships.


  • To facilitate the academic, professional, and service opportunities for each Scholar's own particular interests and career plans through advising, seminars, internships, projects, travel, and collaboration
  • To maximize opportunities that prepare Scholars for professional careers that involve a commitment to seeking solutions to critical social problems
  • To strengthen the connections between academic learning and engaged service
  • To develop an understanding of the relevant financial, legal and organizational constructs involved in high-impact philanthropy
  • To foster a strong sense of community among the Ingram Scholars, alumni, and our key partners

Standards of Excellence



Ingram Scholars receive full-tuition support each year plus stipends for one summer service project. Vanderbilt will provide additional need-based financial aid to those Ingram Scholarship recipients whose demonstrated financial need exceeds the amount of full tuition. Scholarships are renewable annually through the senior year contingent on the maintenance of a 3.0 minimum GPA and fulfillment of service-related requirements. Throughout their years as an Ingram Scholar, students are required to maintain a 20-hour monthly service commitment and to complete one summer service project following their sophomore year. Ingram Scholars meet weekly in large and small groups to discuss individual and collective progress, and to reflect on the personal meaning and societal implications of service. The Ingram Scholar Program is coordinated by a faculty director who oversees Scholar activities associated with the program.