May 9, 2013 - Harvard's Institute of Politics Offering New Scholarship for Public Service Graduate Study


May 9, 2013                 617-496-4009    


(Cambridge, MA) – Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP) today announced a new scholarship opportunity for students across the country interested in pursuing graduate studies in public service.  Beginning in 2014, the John C. Culver Institute of Politics Scholarship will be awarded annually and provide full tuition for two years toward a graduate degree at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Eligible applicants will include students active at the IOP at Harvard or in public service programming at other participating organizations within the IOP's National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement, a consortium of twenty-four colleges and universities around the country committed to creating more politically and civically engaged campuses.  Participating schools work on their own campus and collaboratively in three key areas: establishing an ongoing relationship with electoral politics; focusing on career development in public service; and ensuring a foundation in civic education. 

The scholarship is named after John C. Culver, who has served on the IOP’s Senior Advisory Committee since 1975 – 14 years as Chairman – and now holds the committee post of Chair Emeritus.  Culver also served as the Institute’s Interim Director from July 2010 until January 2011.  Culver served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democratic Representative from Iowa’s second district, winning his first election in 1964, and served one term in the U.S. Sen­ate from 1975 until 1981.  A former Infantry Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Culver is a graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Culver was the recipient of the Lionel de Jersey Harvard post-graduate scholarship to Emmanuel College, Cambridge University. Culver was inducted into the Harvard Football Hall of Fame in 1978, and is the co-author of American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace.

“It has been a privilege to serve for many years on the Senior Advisory Committee of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, established in 1966 as a living memorial to President Kennedy,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee Chairman Emeritus John C. Culver.  “I am honored to be associated with this IOP scholarship initiative to support and encourage public service.”

“It is fitting that this scholarship at Harvard Kennedy School bears the name of Senator John Culver, whose intelligence, integrity, and outstanding service to our nation are an inspiration,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee Chair Caroline Kennedy.   “Senator Culver's vision, passion and energy have been invaluable to my family through the years, and especially in helping to create a vibrant living memorial to President Kennedy at the Institute of Politics.  He is a role model for anyone seeking public service, and we hope that Culver Scholars will be motivated by his extraordinary example in the years to come."
“John Culver’s dedication to the Institute of Politics has helped us achieve excellence and become a model for similar institutions nationwide,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson.  “John’s invaluable counsel has improved our programming, ensured we achieve our mission and inspired countless students to consider public service careers for nearly four decades.  We are very proud to offer this scholarship in his name.”

The application process for the John C. Culver Institute of Politics Scholarship will open in the spring of 2014 to support graduate study at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall and cover full two-year tuition and mandatory fees.  Selection for a John C. Culver Institute of Politics Scholarship is based upon the candidate’s strong record of academic achievement, demonstrated commitment to politics and public service and proven leadership ability. Strong consideration will be given to candidates who actively participated in their undergraduate organization affiliated with the National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement.
In addition to taking action to spur student political involvement on their respective campuses, the National Campaign consortium works during the academic year to –

  • Issue specific recommendations for government, media, campaigns, and educational institutions to promote political and civic engagement;
  • Collect and make available key research; and
  • Create new training opportunities for organizations and individuals seeking to promote youth engagement and participation. 

The National Campaign’s twenty-four consortium schools are: Allegheny College, Birmingham Southern College, Elon University, Franklin & Marshall College, Harvard University, Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, Saint Anselm College, Simpson College, Tennessee State University, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Florida, University of Kansas, University of Louisville, University of Oklahoma, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of Texas, University of Utah, University of Virginia, and Vanderbilt University.


Harvard University’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy.  The IOP’s mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service.  The Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs.  More information is available online at