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John Massey Leadership Scholars Program

“Use your success to help others who come after you.” John Massey 

Program Details

Established in 2022 with a gift from the Massey Family Foundation, the John Massey Leadership Scholars Program offers students an opportunity to prepare for lives of leadership, service, and purpose and begins with the selection of students who have demonstrated their potential for academic success, leadership, and impact.

Purpose: The John Massey Leadership Scholars Program will transform lives by equipping Southeastern students to serve and lead their communities, organizations, and the world with purpose and integrity.

Values: The John Massey Leadership Scholars Program rests on its namesake, John Massey’s life motto: “Do what’s right.” Its values are purpose, integrity, leadership, service, love, and impact.

Vision: By 2042, the John Massey Leadership Scholars Program will have made a difference in the lives of approximately two million people by helping them live lives of purpose through love and impact.

Strategy: The John Massey Leadership Scholars Program consists of three primary components: Scholarships, Mentoring, and Programming.


  • Scholarships will consist of $10,000 per year – $5,000 in the fall and $5,000 in the spring semesters. This scholarship is renewable for four years upon meeting eligibility criteria.
  • Southeastern will provide an additional scholarship for John Massey Leadership Scholars that will cover the remaining cost of room and board in North Hall during their freshman year of enrollment.


Each student will be assigned a university mentor and a community leader mentor during their four years in the program. Students must attend at least two events or mentoring sessions hosted by their mentors during each semester of the John Massey Leadership Scholars university experience. This will include career advice, guidance, counsel, and shadowing experiences on the job with mentors.


In addition to mentoring, all John Massey Leadership Scholars are expected to participate in the following program-specific opportunities during each academic year:

  • Endowed Lecture Series
  • First United Bank’s Annual Stakeholder’s Meeting
  • Complete the Spend Life Wisely University Course
  • Complete an Internship
  • Complete a Capstone Project
  • Serve as a Peer Mentor

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible students must have received a nomination and will be chosen according to leadership ability, extracurricular activities, and the embodiment of the characteristics John Massey was known for – gratitude, resilience, integrity, and tenacity.

Acceptable nominators include High School counselors, teachers or administrators, community-based organization liaisons, university alumni, or employers who can attest to the student’s qualification. (Family members are not eligible to nominate).

For consideration, applicants must:

  • Be admitted as an incoming freshman to SE for the fall semester
  • Submit the SE General Scholarship Application, Leadership Resume, and tell us your “Grit” story
  • Receive a nomination from an acceptable nominator by January 31
  • Have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 on an unweighted 4.0 scale (GPA is recommended and if lower, selection may be made at the discretion of the Selection Committee)
  • As part of an additional scholarship, live on campus (North Hall) for the first fall and spring semester
  • Maintain full-time enrollment (12 credit hours) each fall and spring semester
  • Recommended the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) be completed

How to Apply

Students interested in applying to the John Massey Leadership Scholars Program should indicate their intent on the General Scholarship Application to Southeastern Oklahoma State University by answering the custom scholarship question on the application. All required items must be completed by January 31.

  • Complete application to Southeastern Oklahoma State University
  • Complete general scholarship application
  • Complete John Massey Scholarship Leadership Program application
  • Eligible students must have received a nomination from acceptable nominator.
  • Recommend Students Complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria into the John Massey Leadership Scholars Program are deliberately designed to favor students who demonstrate “grit” and excellence in all the following areas – leadership, community service, desire to make a meaningful impact on the world through occupation and public service and have demonstrated academic promise during high school.

10 students are chosen each year based on:

  • Acceptance to Southeastern
  • Incoming freshman status
  • Proven Leadership Ability
  • Commitment to Service

Selection Process

Applications for the 2024-2025 cohort are now open.

A committee will be charged with screening, interviewing, and selecting ten new John Massey Leadership Scholars each spring semester. Students who are selected from the applicant pool will be invited to interview and participate in the John Massey Leadership Scholars Day. In addition to the interview, students will be able to tour the campus and residence halls, learn about academic programs from faculty-led informational sessions, and meet current students and staff.

If you have questions about the nomination of a candidate, please feel free to contact University Scholarships at (580) 745-3212 or email jmls@se.edu.


When can I apply for the JMLS? Open Close

The 2024 general scholarship application open is NOW OPEN.

I was awarded a PLC, Honors and JMLS scholarship. Can I receive all the scholarships? Open Close

Unfortunately, students must decide to accept only one offer. Programs such as PLC, Honors and JMLS require students to select only one due to the uniqueness and personalized experiences each program offers students.

Do I have to complete my application to the university before I apply for the JMSL? Open Close

Yes, an application for admission to the university must be completed first. Acceptance to the university is required to be considered for the JMSL.

Do I have to be a Business major in the John Massey School of Business to apply? Open Close

Students pursuing any academic major are eligible to apply to the JMLS program.

Can I defer my scholarship award to a later semester? Open Close

Scholarship recipients must attend SE in the fall immediately following high school graduation.

I’m transferring to SE from another college. Am I eligible to apply for the JMLS? Open Close

At this time, the JMLS program is designed specifically for incoming freshman. However, SE offers several scholarship opportunities for transfer students.

What is the John Massey Scholars Day? Open Close

Eligible finalists will participate in a competition day held on the Durant campus in the spring semester of the application process.

Is the JMLS scholarship renewable? Open Close

Yes, provided the recipient maintains the required GPA, full-time enrollment, and meets Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Do I have to live on campus to be a JMLS participant? Open Close

Yes. JMLS students will live in North Hall on the Durant campus. In addition to the JMLS award, students will receive a scholarship award to cover any remaining costs associated with housing during their first year.

Who decides on the final recipients? Open Close

The JMLS Selection Committee will select recipients for the program.