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Reubin Askew Scholars

The Reubin Askew Scholars initiative identifies an outstanding cohort of spring semester sophomores, selected on the basis of their commitment to community service and civic engagement. Those selected will take several courses in public policy, receive intensive leadership training and work with a mentor to help prepare them for a life of civic involvement. Askew Scholars will receive a scholarship of $3000 to support a significant public service or research project.

About Reubin Askew

reubin askew was governor of florida from 1971-79Reubin O’Donovan Askew (1928-2014) served as Florida’s 37th Governor from 1971 to 1979. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest governors in the state’s history, and rated by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as one of the United States’ top 10 governors of the 20th century.

A native of Muskogee, Okla., his family settled in Pensacola during his childhood. He served in the U.S. Army after graduating from high school. In 1951 he graduated from Florida State University with a degree in public administration, then completed law school at the University of Florida College of Law.

Askew was first elected to public office in 1958 in the Florida House of Representatives, then served in the Florida Senate from 1962 till election as governor in 1970. Askew’s reform agenda included extensive funding for public education, environmental protection, the state’s first corporate income tax, and improved race relations.

After leaving the governor’s office, Askew served as the U.S. Trade Representative and briefly mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1984. The Askew School of Public Administration within Florida State’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy is named in his honor.  He spent much of his retirement lecturing in Florida’s universities.  Askew died in 2014 from complications of a stroke.

About the program

Applicants from any undergraduate major at UF may apply. The GPA requirement is 3.5 and above. To determine eligibility, students should review the criteria below.

PLEASE NOTE:  University Scholars cannot hold both awards unless they can clearly demonstrate two entirely different research subjects. Those who qualify for an Askew Scholarship will be able to agree with the majority of the statements below:

Personal Qualifications

  • I aspire to be a “change agent,” in the future, improving the ways that government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or educational institutions serve the public.
  • I have identified problems in the public sphere that need solving.

Academic and Public Service Record

  • I have actively participated in at least TWO of the following sets of activities: Student government and/or campus-based extracurricular activities; community service-related activities; internships, commissions or boards, advocacy or interest groups; nonpartisan political activities, or military/ROTC; partisan political activities and campaigns.
  • I have been involved with organizations or activities related to my career interests.
  • I have demonstrated leadership potential.
  • I have a strong academic record.
  • I regularly read a good national newspaper.
  • I have had one or more courses relating to my career interests.


  • I am capable of analyzing a public issue in my intended career area and presenting my findings in a one-page memo to a government official who could take action.
  • I will take advantage of the opportunity to be mentored by a UF faculty member with similar interests in the public policy area to my own.

Application Procedure

The application period for the Askew Scholar program is not open at this time. The information below provides background information on the program.

Students apply during the spring semester of their sophomore year (fourth semester at UF). Applicants may be nominated by faculty, staff or their peers or may self-nominate.  Those selected will take several courses in public policy, receive intensive leadership training and work with a mentor to help prepare them for a life of civic involvement. Askew Scholars will receive a scholarship of $3000 to support a significant public service or research project.  The stipend will be paid out in two installments.  The first installment of  $1500 will be paid out in the ​spring or summer semester of their junior year (sixth or seventh semester at UF). The first payment may be made sooner if the student can demonstrate need based on their project. The second installment of $1500 will be paid on the completion of the project in the student’s eighth or graduating semester.

Requirements and Time Line for Completing the Award

  1. Student’s fourth semester at UF (not counting summer semesters): Receive notice of winning the award.
  2. By the end of the fourth semester: research and write a policy statement based on the student’s area of interest (problem statement, proposed solution, implementation challenges).
  3. Fifth semester (fall): enroll in a course relating to the student’s area of interest. (During this semester a student should determine if it is appropriate to apply for a Truman Scholarship).
  4. Sixth semester (spring): enroll in a course with a public policy focus in the student’s area of interest. Choose a faculty mentor. Submit a draft of the summer research or civic project proposal to the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.
  5. Summer between sixth and seventh semester: engage in a research project or a civic project under the guidance of the faculty mentor.
  6. Seventh semester (fall): enroll in a course with a focus on leadership theory or practice. Complete research on project and begin writing up research.
  7. Eighth semester: submit research as a senior thesis and/or submit to a scholarly journal for publication or to the UF Journal of Undergraduate Research or similar forum.

Faculty Scholars will guide the work of the Askew Scholars, interact with them on a regular basis, and direct their writing and research on their research or civic project. Students will choose their own mentors, subject to the approval of the Graham Center Faculty Advisory Board. Faculty mentors will each receive a stipend of $2,000.

For questions on the program contact Bob Graham Center Director Matt Jacobs at, or call 352-846-1575.

Past Recipients