Today, President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton launched the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a partnership between the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson. The goal of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program is to help participants develop the skills needed to become highly-effective leaders. The inaugural class will begin in February 2015. Online applications and referrals will be accepted at through October 27, 2014. “Leadership is always a critical need,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “I’m excited about the opportunity that lies before us: a program that will train highly motivated people with a track record of leadership from across all sectors and backgrounds – private, public, non-profit, military and academia – to apply the lessons, concepts and ideas they learn through the program to the complex opportunities and challenges that lie before them.” The program’s interactive and dynamic curriculum incorporates:

  • Pre-eminent scholarship and best practices;
  • Distinguished faculty from the presidential centers’ affiliated universities: SMU, Texas A&M, University of Texas and the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, and other renowned academic institutions, including Georgetown University;
  • Leadership examples and participation from the private, public, non-profit, and military sectors; and,
  • Active engagement from guest speakers across a number of presidential administrations.

The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program will focus on a variety of facets of leadership skills, including vision and communication, decision-making, persuasion and influence, and coalition building. The program will also benefit from periodic participation of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The curriculum draws from presidential centers’ archives and other resources related to leadership and decision-making moments from each administration. “Effective leadership is an important skill for individuals looking to make a positive difference in the world and change lives,” said Bruce Lindsey, Chair of the Clinton Foundation’s Board of Directors. “The Presidential Leadership Scholars Program is designed to foster the next generation of leaders, whether they choose to work in government, business, or philanthropy. The program’s unique curriculum includes an unprecedented assembly of leaders across four presidential administrations, spanning over 45 years.”

Throughout the program, scholars are encouraged to form long-term relationships with one another and to learn from each other’s divergent views and backgrounds. By connecting a new class of scholars each year, the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program also aims to build a strong and diverse alumni network that can put the lessons of cooperation and collaborative problem-solving to use in a variety of sectors.

The program begins with an intensive four-day instructional program held at Mt. Vernon, where participants will learn about leadership models in general, and presidential leadership in particular. In the months following, an extended weekend class sessions will be held at each of the participating presidential centers: the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas; the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas; the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas; and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

Scholars will be able to maintain their full time employment while participating in the program. Spread over six months, the sessions encompass approximately 120 hours of instruction. The first class of scholars will be selected by the end of the year. Applicants may come from the private, public, non-profit, and military sectors and should generally have 10 years of professional experience. Successful applicants will demonstrate a strong record of professional and community achievement, a commitment to continued growth as a leader, a passion for serving an even broader role in society and a collaborative spirit that is open to new ideas and approaches.

The four presidential centers are committed to offering this opportunity to selected participants regardless of their financial means. To honor this commitment, program tuition, accommodations, meals and travel to the course sessions are funded by generous contributions from foundations, individuals and corporations, including the Moody Foundation, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas, and the Miles Foundation. The Presidential Leadership Scholars program also benefits from an Advisory Committee, made up of notable alumni from each presidential administration, which contributes to the breadth and depth of expertise supporting this innovative leadership program.

Members of the advisory committee are: The Honorable Joshua Bolten, Chair; The Honorable Alexis M. Herman, Co-Chair; The Honorable James W. Cicconi; The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez; Mr. Tom Johnson; The Honorable Vilma S. Martinez; General (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal; The Honorable Constance Berry Newman; The Honorable Lyndon Olson; Dr. Roger B. Porter; The Honorable Donna E. Shalala; Dr. Laura Tyson; The Honorable Bruce Lindsey, ex-officio; and, The Honorable Margaret Spellings, ex-officio.


The George W. Bush Presidential Center is located on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas. The Bush Center is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. The Bush Institute mission is to honor and advance the guiding values, ideals, principles, and actions of President and Mrs. George W. Bush.

The Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. The William J. Clinton Presidential Center is located in Little Rock, Arkansas and houses the Clinton Foundation, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, promotes civic literacy and increased historical understanding of our national experience, and fosters a community of public service and volunteerism. In addition to sponsoring its own programs, the Foundation provides program and financial support to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the LBJ Presidential Library and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. One looks to the past and the other to the future, providing an ongoing legacy for President Johnson’s accomplishments and his vision for our nation, including civil rights, voting rights, the war on poverty, education, medicare, environmental protection, and more.