Cherng Program in Honors

“We are delighted to contribute to inspiring better lives by supporting one of the nation’s best honors colleges as well as providing resources to educate and train our future leaders.”

-University of Missouri alumni, Andrew and Peggy Cherng

Andrew & Peggy Cherng

In the spring of 2017, through the philanthropic Panda Cares Foundation, the Cherngs made a multi-million dollar gift to support scholarships, programs, and academic opportunities for high-achieving Honors students.

Peggy and Andrew’s remarkable story and their approach to philanthropic giving, as well as their rise through the corporate world, are vital to understanding more about what motivates each of them. Both have also made and honored significant contributions to the larger American narrative that stems from and is inclusive of all Asian Americans.


The Cherng Program in Honors consists of the following programs:

  • Cherng Distinguished Scholar and Visiting Faculty
  • Cherng Global Leadership Academy
  • Cherng Summer Scholars & Fellows: Cherng Summer Scholars, Cherng Scholars, Show Me Scholars, CIRCA Scholars, ASH Scholars: Documenting Luyia Project, Stamps Scholars
  • “Global Connections” Curriculums: COIL Global Innovations, Genocide and Transitional Justice
  • Honors Study Abroad and Study Away Programs: The Hague, Oxford, Athens
  • One Read Honors


Cherng Honors Programs

The CIRCA Scholars Program, a problem-based interdisciplinary approach to learning and research (Cherng Interdisciplinary Research in Contemporary Affairs) is built upon a two-semester course sequence and study abroad/away experiences that explores the interconnected threads of current issues and problems facing humanity. First semester students will examine global issues, from peace and conflict to education and learning, by defining problems, analyzing different stakeholder’s perspectives, reviewing evidence, and re-framing solutions. Second semester, students choose one global issue to look further into, framed through a research and leadership.



Cherng Distinguished Scholar and Visiting Faculty


Each year we invite one leading scholar to campus to engage the campus and community, as deeply as possible, in an issue of contemporary importance. They spend several days on campus engaging with our students and faculty in a variety of settings, including a public lecture, brown-bag seminars, classroom visits, and more casually over meals and during receptions.

Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote, Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, holds the distinction as being the inaugural Peggy and Andrew Cherng Distinguished Visiting Scholar. She visited Mizzou in November 2017 to deliver a public talk, entitled We’ll Show You Boys How to Dance: Kiowa Dance and Painting, 1928-1940, and her visit focused on the issues facing American today regarding Native Americans–their history, treatment, challenges, and possibilities.She brought to light many issues about Native American stereotypes, separation of children from their families, and cultural struggles.

Future Cherng Prize and Distinguished Visiting Faculty will contribute to our ongoing discussions about education, history, medicine, government, agriculture, technology, and economics. They provide a means for MU students and faculty to connect with the broader world of ideas and challenges. And they stimulate deeper discussions between and among the MU community, members of the Columbia community, and people throughout the state of Missouri.

Peggy and Andrew Cherng Distinguished Visiting Scholars:

2017  |  Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote, Assistant Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2018  |  Dr. Paul Offit, Director, Vaccine Education Center, Children’s Hospital, University of Pennsylvania


Cherng Summer Scholars

The first cohort of twelve scholars launched their projects in the summer of 2017. Cherng Summer Scholars, who are arguable our most accomplished juniors and seniors, participate in a full-time, ten week, summer research or artistry program. These scholars participate in individually designed theoretical research, applied research, or artistry projects, under the mentorship of an MU faculty member in the field. At the conclusion of the summer the research and artistry projects are presented at the Summer Undergraduate Research Forum and Scholars finish out thier year at MU by presenting their work in various forums to current and future MU students. Each summer we will induct a new cohort of twelve students into this prestigious cohort.

Cherng Summer Scholars            

Each summer we will induct a new cohort of twelve students into this prestigious program.

CSS 2018: Riley Messer, Clarabelle Fields, Julia Brose, Jade Thomas, Thomas Cassimatis, Ethan Zars, Braden Zink, Aiden Alemifar, Tessa Valleroy, Jacqueline Ihnat, Abbey Robinson, and Baylee Francka (not pictured).

CSS 2019: Elizabeth Kujath, Caroline Statler, Beckie Jaeckels, Kyra Flora, Sally Heil, Sam Ritter, Patrick Cronely, Sai Gajagowni, Rebecca Craig, Sarah Pribe, and Emelyn Piotter (not pictured).

Our CSSs go on to even greater heights, including first author of research articles prior to graduation, to become Fulbright Scholars, go on to graduate school, and employment with some of the world’s leading corporations.


Cherng Global Leadership Academy

A summer program for students in grades 9-12, the CGLA is designed to motivate and give high school youth the honed skills and tactics to pursue leadership roles in their schools, social circles, and local communities. The faculty, guest presenters, and counselors of the Academy inspire and challenge the students to guide their generation and to take up positions of great responsibility and opportunity.

Academy participants have the chance to learn from and network with professionals from diverse backgrounds in business, medicine, education, law, government, military, and agriculture.

The first Academy was held in the summer of 2018 with seventeen participants in a unique 10-day program.


Cherng Scholars & Fellows Programs

The Cherng Program supports a number of our Scholars & Fellows Programs, including the Cherng Scholars and Show Me Scholars, ASH Scholars (Documenting Luyia Project, 2016 — present), Stamps Scholars, and the two programs above, Cherng Summer Scholars and CIRCA Scholars.

Acquisition of practical skills, the direct application of knowledge, and advancing in one’s chosen field of study are the three facets at the core of our Scholars & Fellows research programs. We have over a dozen different programs, each designed to foster a different facet of a participant’s education.

From Discovery Fellows (intensive research), to Show Me Scholars, to Founders Memorial Scholars, we provide 450 students, annually, with funding to pursue their future, today. Our goal is to provide 900 spaces, to give these opportunities to at least half of all of the students in the College, and in so doing retain the both Missouri’s brightest, “home grown” talent, as well as some of the most academically accomplished students in the nation.

In addition to a scholarship each year, Scholars & Fellows also participate in exclusive programs through which they will develop and enhance both “soft skills” and advanced academic practices. They are also provided with opportunities to enroll in dedicated honors classes, participate in study abroad or study away, serve as a Teaching Assistant for an Honors College class, and present their work at various academic and professional conferences. These are truly transformational programs.

For more details on each of these programs, their unique designs, and their goals and objectives, please visit our Scholars & Fellows Programs site.



Study Abroad | Study Away

The Honors College provides unique and exclusive study abroad programs for our students, designed with a customized curriculum, cutting-edge experiential learning opportunities, and through partnerships with global institutions. Our programs are not “trips” but rather they are fully articulated and intensive programs of study that put students square in the middle of the issues and content. These programs immerse our students in the culture, context, and challenges of understanding the world from a different perspective and place.

Athens, Greece: Spend a semester in the capital of Greece, studying at the Arcadia University Centre and living in apartments in the classical Pangrati neighborhood (marked by a central square with restaurants, pubs, a butcher, a candy store, and cafes). This program is ideal for STEM and Pre-Med majors, as it includes a semester-long internship at Demokritos (The Greek National Science Research Center) or Doctors of the World Athens Clinic. Students enroll in 9 hours of courses and 3 – 6 hours of internships.

The Hague, Netherlands (Semester): One of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities is the home to The Hague University of Applied Sciences, where you can study communication, international relations (focused on the European Union and the Eurozone), and business, all in English. Students can add an option internship with one of the hundreds of global corporations with offices throughout the city. MU Honors students pay tuition and fees to MU as they normally would (using all existing aid) and work with THUAS to secure housing in the Hollandspoor neighborhood surrounding the campus.

The Hague, Netherlands (Summer, Odd Years): Focused on the pursuit of international justice in the wake of genocide and mass atrocities, this MU Faculty-led program takes you deep inside the international courts, think-tanks, NGOs, and government agencies that are committed to the quest for prevention and, when called for, punishment. Students will witness trials, speak with officials from numerous agencies and offices, and examine the world of international law. The program, scheduled for three weeks (from late May to mid-June), also includes a three-day program in Amsterdam focused on the history and legacy of the Holocaust.

For more information and to apply, please visit our International Programs page.


“Global Connections” Curriculum

COIL Global Curricular Innovation

Three courses make up the pilot launch of the on-line, international learning initiative of the Honors College.

Genocide and Transitional Justice Curriculum

Focused on the efforts to punish, prevent, and transform post-atrocity societies, this curriculum aims to give students an in-depth knowledge and approach to addressing the “crime of crimes.”

  • Genocide (An Introduction)
  • Transitional Justice
  • New Ideas in Genocide Studies
  • Genocide and Film
  • Genocide and International Justice (The Hauge, Netherlands)
  • The Bosnian Genocide in History and Memory (Srebrenica, Bosnia)


Honors One Read

Each year the Honors College selects an important book–fiction or non-fiction–as its One Read. The book then becomes the focal point of Honors community activities, programming, and even courses and academic units of study.The impact of these works on our students and their academic performance, cannot be understated. Students have gone on to win awards with their essays written in response to the works and meeting the authors, have changed their plans for academic study after coming into deep contact with the issues raised, and we have developed programming and courses to extend the discussions and impacts.

Prior One Read Selections

2019-2020: Under consideration now!

2018-2019: Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father (Harper Perennial, 2001).

2017-2018: Louise Edrich, The Round House (Harper Perennial, 2013).

2016-2017: Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Random House, 2014).

2015-2016: G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel: No Normal, v. 1 (Marvel Comics, 2015).