College of Liberal Arts

Our Story










In August of 1996, The University of Texas System Board of Regents established the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Endowment for International and Multidisciplinary Studies with a perpetual pledge of one-sixth of the total annual distributions of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation dedicated for addition to the endowment principal. 

The establishment and initial founding of the scholarship came from Bernard and Audre Rapoport and their dedication to making a difference in the lives of undergraduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. Bernard and Audre wanted to provide a scholarship based on Bernard’s experience as an undergraduate and his passion for community engagement and civic life.   

Initial conversations about the scholarship came from Bernard Rapoport as he wanted a scholarship based on community leadership. Mr.Rapoport also wanted to provide an avenue for undergraduates to have less financial burden and more freedom to explore their academic interests while at UT-Austin.  Bernard and Audre approached then Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Richard Lariviere, to establish a scholarship.  Dean Lariviere charged then Associate Dean, Dr. Linda Ferreira-Buckley, with establishing the beginning of the scholarship. Dr. Gabby Yearwood was recruited to become the first coordinator and helped establish the program. The program was based on three main ideas that were promoted by Bernard and Audre: community service, academic coursework, and leadership development.  The program aimed to train community leaders that could in turn provide service to their communities.

In November of 2000, the Board of Regents and the Foundation amended a portion of the agreement, dedicating future annual distributions to an annual scholarship program in the College of Liberal Arts. Today, this program is known as the Rapoport Service Scholarship Program and it impacts the lives of 36 scholars and countless communities every year.

In 2001 the program recruited the first class of scholars with 17 students.  Every year since then the program has recruited 12-14 students a year and has a total of 36-42 scholars in the program at any one given time.   

The program has 218 alumni in all corners of the globe making a difference in the fields of law, education, medicine and social work to name only a few. 

To learn more about the program's history, please read this article written by Life & Letters.