14 Schwarzman Scholars Milestones in 2014

December 26, 2014

In 2014, Schwarzman Scholars reached significant milestones in all program areas, including recruitment, admissions, curriculum development, and the construction of Schwarzman College. Below, we review some of the major accomplishments of the past year.

1. Academic Launch Events in Four Global Cities

To raise awareness about the program worldwide, Schwarzman Scholars hosted four launch events in New York, London, Singapore and Palo Alto in October and November 2014. 


These events served to officially introduce the program to university fellowship offices ahead of the application’s launch in spring 2015, and to celebrate the program’s progress since its announcement in April 2013. 


  • Click here to read the press release issued and here to read a CNN.com article published following the New York launch event.
  • Click here to read the blog post on the London launch event.
  • Click here to read the blog post on the Singapore launch event.
  • Click here to read the Forbes write-up on the Palo Alto launch event.

2. $300 Million Initial Fundraising Goal Met

Schwarzman Scholars announced that it achieved its initial fundraising goal of $300 million just over one year after its announcement in April 2013.


Due to the tremendous success of the fundraising effort, the ultimate target was increased to $350 million to allow the program to better execute its mission and match the capabilities of the world’s top endowed scholarship programs.

  • Read the full press release here.
  • Read a New York Times article published following the programs announcement here.
  • See the full list of donors here.

3. Admissions and Eligibility Criteria Announced

Schwarzman Scholars will be selected on the basis of not only their academic aptitude and intellectual ability, but also their leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, ability to anticipate paradigm changes, exemplary character, and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions.


Learn more about eligibility and the application process here.

4. Hired Global Head of Admissions

After an extensive international search, Schwarzman Scholars appointed Robert Garris, former Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, as Global Director of Admissions. Rob oversees recruitment and admissions for program.


“Rob represents the very best in thought leadership and execution in the area of student admissions,” remarked the program’s founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman. “Through decades of academic and administrative leadership, including top positions at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, he has amassed an incredible wealth of knowledge, talent, and experience that will make him an invaluable asset to the Schwarzman Scholars team as we build a world-class program and recruit the most promising future leaders.”

Read the full announcement here.

5. Partnership with Institute of International Education

Schwarzman Scholars partnered with the Institute of International Education (IIE), a leading international education and training organization, which administers the U.S. State Department’s Fulbright program and other prestigious scholarship programs around the world, to develop and implement an international application process as well as recruitment and selection practices for the program.


Leveraging more than nine decades of experience overseeing leading scholarship programs, IIE is helping Schwarzman Scholars accomplish its mission by supporting its efforts to attract the world’s most entrepreneurial, independent, critical-thinking future leaders who understand that in-depth, first-hand exposure to China is critically important in the 21st century.

Read the full partnership announcement here.

6. Visit from Honorary Advisory Board Member Condoleezza Rice

Schwarzman Scholars Dean David Li, Tsinghua University President Jining Chen and Interim Executive Director Amy Stursberg met with Honorary Advisory Board Member Condoleezza Rice during her visit to Tsinghua University and the future site of Schwarzman College in April 2014.


Dr. Rice and Dean Li also discussed the program on CCTV’s BizTalk, a popular television talk show anchored by acclaimed interviewer and broadcast journalist, Rui Chenggang.

7. Website Re-Launch and Videos

Schwarzman Scholars expanded its website to include an interactive presentation to introduce the program to students, university leadership, administrators and fellowship offices; prospective and current donors, and the public at large.


At the same time, new recruitment videos were released, which include special appearances from Schwarzman Scholars Honorary Advisory Board Members Dr. Henry Kissinger and Dr. Condeleezza Rice; Visiting Professor Niall Ferguson; Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas; and Former GE Chairman and CEO, Jack Welch.

  • Click here to view the Schwarzman Scholars website.
  • Click here to view the recruitment video, “Building Schwarzman Scholars”
  • Click here to view the video, “Why Should Future Leaders Understand China?”

8. Social Media Milestones

In 2014, Schwarzman Scholars also made significant progress expanding our social media reach. To date, the program has attracted more than 16,000 fans on Facebook and 12,000 followers on Twitter. Building out a robust social media presence will be a continued priority for 2015.


9. First Distinguished Visiting Professor Announced

Schwarzman Scholars announced that acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson has been appointed to a five-year term as Distinguished Visiting Professor with Schwarzman Scholars and Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities.


Ferguson currently serves as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Until recently, he was also a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford. He joins Schwarzman Scholars in July 2016 for its inaugural class of scholars.

Click here to read the full announcement.

10. Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University Professor Appointment Ceremony and Global Youth Leadership Summer Camp

Tsinghua University President Chen Jining attended a ceremony for the appointment of Schwarzman Scholars professors and issued Letters of Appointment to the representatives of the appointed professors. Schwarzman Scholars Dean David Daokui Li was also present, and extended gratitude to the schools and departments of the university for their generous support to the program.


The inaugural Schwarzman Scholars Global Youth Leadership Summer Camp was also held at Tsinghua University in July. The summer program will help inspire interest among the nation’s top students and evaluate potential candidates for Schwarzman Scholars.


Over the course of four days, rising seniors from top Chinese universities attended lectures, prepared and delivered team presentations, and participated in a rigorous and engaging program that demonstrates the type of leadership training that students will receive as Schwarzman Scholars.

11. First Lady Michelle Obama Lauds Schwarzman Scholars During Beijing Visit

During First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Beijing, she addressed the importance of educational exchange in remarks to Chinese university students, and referenced Schwarzman Scholars as a representative example.


“The private sector is stepping up as well,” Mrs. Obama said. “For example, Steve Schwarzman, who is the head of an American company called Blackstone, is funding a new program at Tsinghua University modeled on the Rhodes Scholarship. And today, students from all kinds of backgrounds are studying here in China. “

This year, Schwarzman Scholars also participated in the fifth annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE), co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.

Read the First Lady’s full remarks here.

12. Collaboration with 100,000 Strong Foundation

Schwarzman Scholars founder Steve Schwarzman contributed to the 2014 annual report of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which encourages students of diverse backgrounds from across the country to learn Mandarin and study in China. To read his letter, “Connecting Future Leaders: The Benefits Of Student Exchange In A Multi-Polar World” click here.


The 100,000 Strong Foundation and Schwarzman Scholars share a mission of deepening U.S.-China ties through investing in education and developing future leaders. The Foundation’s President, Carola McGiffert, and Steve Schwarzman also collaborated on an op-ed for The China Business Review, available here.

13. Campus Information Sessions and Webcasts Held

Schwarzman Scholars hosted a series of campus information sessions, totaling more than 100 visits to colleges and universities across the United States, including to Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, Northwestern, Dartmouth, Williams, and Baruch, and across the world in cities including São Paulo, Mexico City, Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris, and Shanghai. The admissions team is also conducting webinar information sessions in order to maximize its reach to potential student candidates around the world.


Pictured above, Global Director of Admissions Rob Garris led a Schwarzman Scholars program information session at the United States Military Academy at West Point on October 28, 2014.

14. Topping-off Ceremony for Schwarzman College

One year after the October 2013 groundbreaking ceremony was held for Schwarzman Scholars, a roof-topping ceremony was held at the future site of Schwarzman College, which is on track to welcome its first class of scholars in June 2016.


When completed, Schwarzman College will be the first academic building in China with both LEED Gold and China Green building Label 2-Star certification.

To learn more about Schwarzman College, click here.