Graduate School Dean’s Scholars

Group of people standing together in a foyer.

The Graduate School Dean’s Scholars are recipients of one of the following fellowships in support of diversity, or are nominated and selected scholars who have demonstrated a strong commitment to academic excellence and advancing aspects of diversity, access, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the academy and other communities.

The core purpose of the prestigious distinction of Dean’s Scholar is to develop a diverse community of scholars through which connections are established and maintained across all graduate fields. To help facilitate the establishment of community, Dean’s Scholars are invited to participate in a variety of professional and community development events sponsored or co-sponsored by the Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement (OISE). Additionally, Dean’s Scholars are recognized as members of the IvyPlus Scholars Network.  

Dean’s Scholars Engagement Series

The Dean’s Scholars Engagement Series provides opportunities for incoming Dean’s Scholars to engage with continuing Dean’s Scholars and alumni as one means to help establish a sense of community and belonging at Cornell. Featured in each session is an invited Dean’s Scholar speaker. Our speakers share insights on how they were able to establish community, navigate their progression through their graduate studies, work through moments of uncertainty, remain motivated, and find a sense of purpose. During the summer, all sessions take place via Zoom and during the academic year, sessions take place predominately in person. 

Summer Success Symposium 

The Summer Success Symposium is a professional and community development event for new and continuing doctoral students from across all graduate fields. The symposium has a particular focus on bringing together recipients of graduate fellowships in support of diversity as well as all other doctoral students from backgrounds historically excluded from and underrepresented in the academy. This includes, but is not limited to students who identify as Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latine, and/or Asian American, and/or those that identify as first-generation college (FGC) students, LGBTQQ+ identified students, veterans, students with disabilities, women in STEM, students with DACA status, and others. Master’s degree students interested in pursuing doctoral studies are also welcome to this event.

Through this symposium, participants have the opportunity to form connections and establish community. This symposium also provides participants with the opportunity to engage with successful alumni, faculty, and professionals with shared experiences and identities. Summer Success Symposium keynote and workshop content focuses on providing participants with access to knowledge and insights that will help them navigate their successful transition into and progression through their graduate studies.

Graduate Diversity & Inclusion Fall Mixer

All Dean’s Scholars are invited to attend the Graduate Diversity & Inclusion Fall Mixer to network with current students, staff, faculty, and other community members. This event also provides participants with the opportunity to learn about student organizations represented on the Graduate and Professional Diversity Council. This family friendly event takes place every September. 

Dean’s Scholars Pinning Ceremony

The inaugural pinning ceremony for the Graduate School Dean’s Scholars took place in Fall 2017. This event marked the beginning of an annual fall tradition where the Graduate School publicly recognizes and celebrates the Dean’s Scholars for their academic achievements, commitment to excellence, and potential for making meaningful contributions to their respective disciplines. The Dean’s Scholars pin has a round center of gold with the Cornell seal, which is surrounded by an outer ring of silver. The silver represents the persistence of the scholars whereas the gold represents their achievement. See images from the 2023 Dean’s Scholars Pinning Ceremony.

Colman Inclusive Leadership Program

In spring 2012, John and Jane Colman established the Colman Family Endowed Fund for Leadership within Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) to establish the Colman Inclusive Leadership Program for Ph.D. students in engineering and other related STEM fields. In summer 2015, the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement established a partnership with DPE to open up the Colman Inclusive Leadership Program to Ph.D. students from across all graduate fields. The Colman Inclusive Leadership Program seeks to enroll up to 30 Ph.D. students in an intensive multi-day program focused on providing participants with skills and knowledge that will support their development as leaders in graduate school and beyond. Dean’s Scholars receive priority consideration for selection for the Colman Inclusive Leadership Program.

Future Professors Institute: Advancing Diversity in the Academy

The Future Professors Institute is a biennial event featuring workshops and guest speakers from multiple institutional types discussing the topic of preparing for successful faculty careers. The primary audience for this program is future faculty with a demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, inclusion, access, and equity in academia, including but not limited to those from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the professoriate. Dean’s Scholars receive priority consideration for selection for the Future Professors Institute.