The Roan Scholars Leadership Program inspires and develops transformative leaders to impact our world. East Tennessee State University’s premier scholarship program, the Roan was founded by Mr. Louis H. Gump in 1997 and welcomed its first class of Roan Scholars in fall 2000.


The roan mission

Inspiring and developing leaders of excellence


We accomplish our mission through a development model that emphasizes research-based practices and experiential learning, The Roan is much more than a traditional scholarship. It is an experience—built around challenge, inspiration and support. Roan Scholars arrive at ETSU full of potential and enthusiasm; the Roan empowers them with resources, experiences, connections and support. Scholars take it from there: They pursue their passions; they explore, learn and grow - as individuals and as members of a team; and they make an impact on their community and those around them.

the roan vision

Transformative leaders actively serving ETSU, their communities and the world.


We believe leaders of character who can make an impact are needed now as much as ever. We believe truly excellent leaders constantly strive to learn and grow, identify and tackle problems, serve and impact those around them. We believe that intentionally challenging and supporting those leaders furthers and accelerates their development - and that the Roan Experience does just that.


Character. Compassion, Determination, Generosity, Humility, Integrity, Maturity, Moral Courage, Responsibility – these are the characteristics that form the foundation of the Roan culture.

Intellectual Curiosity. Leaders are learners and, while Roan Scholars tend to excel in the classroom, we’re primarily seeking those students for whom learning is an essential part of their being, and knowledge more important than grades or test scores; students committed to self-development and interested in expanding their world.

Physical Vigor. A demonstrated commitment to an active lifestyle; a dedication to fitness and regular physical activity. Tenacity matters as much as (or more than) ability in this area; individual endeavors are considered just as much as team sports. (Due consideration is given to nominees with physical limitations).

Leadership. It’s about more than titles or the number of activities; it’s about excellence and impact. Roan Scholars set the example, daily. They initiate and inspire. They influence and encourage. They motivate and lead others to accomplish shared goals. Above all, they impact, making a positive difference for those around them.


We seek eligible high school seniors with outstanding character who already demonstrate leadership potential and intellectual curiosity but have the capacity for more, the desire to make a difference in their communities and their future professions, and the drive to do so. 


With more than 60 Alumni since the first class entered ETSU in 2000, the Roan has inspired and developed leaders who today serve as change agents in sectors such as government, health care, education, business, nonprofit, and the military. As that network of Roan Alumni - and its collective impact - grows, we will focus on further enhancing the Roan Experience, to better challenge, inspire, and connect Scholars, so that they can develop into even stronger leaders and create even greater impact on our world.