Congratulations on being named a Horatio Alger Scholar! We commend you on your achievement and we look forward to welcoming you to the National Scholar’s Conference, which takes place concurrently with the Awards Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on April 3–7, 2024.

The Horatio Alger Association is committed to providing educational opportunities to promising young people, enabling them to overcome their adversities in pursuit of the American Dream. An essential component of the Association’s mission is to provide an avenue for the leaders of today to cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, throughout the events in Washington, D.C., you will have a chance to meet many of our Members from the United States and Canada. These distinguished leaders in business, government, law, medicine, and the arts will share with you their life stories and personal success philosophies, giving you direction and inspiration for your future. Horatio Alger Members are proof that “opportunity still knocks” in North America,
and they will support you in living your own Horatio Alger story.

Your participation in the National Scholars Conference is truly a unique opportunity and we encourage you to take full advantage it through your active and thoughtful participation.

GOALS

CONNECT

Foster meaningful and sustained relationships between Scholars, Alumni, Members, and the Association.

SUPPORT

Help Scholars navigate their post-secondary journey and provide them with guidance in making critical decisions about their academic and career paths.

EDUCATE

Highlight the opportunities
available through the
free-enterprise system and promote community engagement.

Schedule

Arriving at the National Scholars Conference

Upon arriving in Washington, D.C., Scholars will be shuttled to the Fairmont – Washington, D.C. where they will check into their rooms, be fitted for their formal attire, and be officially welcomed to the 2024 National Scholars Conference at Dinner.  During this time, Scholars will be introduced to NSC staff, staff from Horatio Alger headquarters, and the Team Leaders.  If a Scholar arrives after 9 pm, boxed dinners will be available.

National Scholars Conference Breakfast
& The United States Supreme Court

Scholars start their busy day with breakfast and proceed to the United States Supreme Court for morning programming.

Justice Clarence Thomas Addresses the Scholars

The first full day of NSC begins with a chance to meet and talk with United States Supreme Court Associate Justice and Horatio Alger Member Clarence Thomas (‘92).  Following opening remarks, Justice Thomas will spend over an hour fielding questions from the Scholars.  Through his answers, Scholars will gain a clearer understanding of the impact the National Scholars Conference can have on their lives.  From dealing with challenges, to career development, to recognizing and seizing opportunities, Justice Thomas will share his wisdom and life experiences in ways that resonate with Scholars.

Table Talks

After returning from the Supreme Court, Horatio Alger Members from various professional backgrounds will join Scholars at the Fairmont Hotel for Table Talks.  While Scholars and Members eat together, NSC Staff will help facilitate “table talk” between Scholars and Members.

Learning Sessions

Throughout the Conference, Scholars will participate in learning sessions that focus on personal, professional, and academic development.

Inaugural Dinner at the National Portrait Gallery

The Inaugural Dinner will be held at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, which has been the stage for Washington, D.C.’s most elegant events.  During this formal dinner, Scholars will learn more about Horatio Alger’s newest Members, as well as a special tribute to the 2024 Scholars in attendance, and the 2024 Horatio Alger Alumnus of the Year.

Meet the Scholars Breakfast

The Meet the Scholars Breakfast, held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, brings together the Scholars, Association Members, and Life Partners (Members’ spouses) for breakfast.  After an opening address, it is hoped that conversations during the breakfast will start to form a basis for the Scholars’ lifelong relationship with the Association and its Members.

Members Forum & Luncheon

The Members Forum at the Ritz-Carlton provides an opportunity for the 2024 Scholars to interact with the newest Horatio Alger Award recipients in a question-and-answer session. In a stimulating exchange, the Award recipients provide insights about their life experiences and advice in response to questions posed by the Scholars.  Scholars learn first-hand how the adult honorees used their entrepreneurial zeal and leadership skills to provide opportunities for countless individuals through their professional careers and civic endeavors. The audience at the Members Forum is made up of Members, Life Partners, Scholars, and guests. The principles and values of democracy, America’s free-enterprise system, and the American Dream come to life for all in attendance at the Members Forum.

Awards Induction Ceremony

The gala event of the National Scholars Conference and Horatio Alger Awards week is the 77th Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremony at DAR Constitution Hall.  Scholars will attend this black-tie event along with approximately 500 other people, including Association Members, Life Partners, and guests from all walks of life. The Masters of Ceremonies will provide leadership as participants honor the Members who are formally inducted into the Association as they receive the Horatio Alger Award, as well as recognize and honor the 2024 Horatio Alger Scholars. This is the 77th anniversary of the Association, and the celebration will inspire participants with the entertainment, drama, and the grandeur of this special evening.  The Association also hopes to convey a clearer understanding of its mission, goals, and activities in support of young people and the American Dream.

Breakfast Celebrating 40 Years of Alumni & Scholars

The Breakfast Saluting the Horatio Alger Alumni is an event that honors the remarkable achievements of four decades of Horatio Alger Alumni. It acknowledges the obstacles that Alumni have overcome in their lives and their pursuit of the American Dream. This breakfast provides Scholars with a final opportunity to converse with Association Members, Life Partners, and guests before the Horatio Alger Awards conclude.

Historic Tour of the Nation’s Capital

On Saturday afternoon, the Scholars will embark on a tour of some significant historical sites in Washington, D.C. Throughout the tour, they will make stops at renowned locations such as the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. The tour will offer plenty of opportunities for taking photographs and purchasing souvenirs to commemorate their visit to the nation’s capital.

National Scholars Conference Closing Activities

The 2024 National Scholars Conference will draw to a close as everyone returns to the Fairmont Hotel for our final team meetings. Then everyone will move to the Ballroom for dinner and music.  Scholars will have time to reflect on the week’s activities and on what lies ahead. As everyone departs on Sunday morning, the Horatio Alger Association hopes that Scholars will carry home memories of a truly life-changing experience.

Scholars Depart from the National Scholars Conference

Scholars will depart on Sunday morning.  Grab-and-Go breakfasts will be available to pick up on their way to the airport or train station. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available. We also encourage you to share it with your parents/guardians or other applicable adults.

A copy of your travel itinerary and boarding pass will be emailed to you.

Familiarize yourself with all airline liquid regulations and luggage allowances prior to your trip. You should also make sure you leave room in your suitcase for items you will bring home from the conference. In general, liquids over 3.4 fl. oz. are not permitted in your carry-on luggage, and any liquids containers brought on board must fit into a 1-quart sized plastic bag. Checked baggage should not weigh more than 50 lbs., or you will be subject to overweight charges.  Please check with your airline for their specific policies regarding carry-on and checked luggage.

You must bring a government-issued photo ID (passport if traveling from Canada). You may be required to show a government-issued photo ID to the airline/train staff upon check-in.  You should bring the same government-issued photo ID that you uploaded in the registration form.  Please ensure you carry your ID with you at all times throughout the conference.

During the National Scholars Conference, our conference partner, Linder Global, will have a travel hotline staffed by a travel coordinator. The phone number for the hotline will be posted here. If you experience any issues during your travel, please call the number provided. Parents and guardians are also welcome to use this number to reach Association staff throughout the conference.

Reservations have been made for you at the Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037. Upon arrival at the Fairmont Hotel, you will be escorted through the M Street entrance where you will connect with conference staff.  Hotel staff will take your luggage to a secure holding area and you will bypass the regular hotel front desk.  You will be then escorted to the Ballroom Level, where you will meet additional conference and Association staff to continue the check-in process.   

You will receive information about your rooming assignment when you arrive.  Scholars are roomed and assigned to a floor by gender. Professional security officers will be on each floor occupied by Scholars for the duration of the conference.

The Fairmont hotel provides complimentary WiFi to all guests.

Due to space, cost, and security concerns, parents, guardians, support animals, or chaperones are not allowed to attend the National Scholars Conference and Awards Induction Ceremonies.  No exceptions.

Full-time Horatio Alger Association staff, volunteers, and our event partners are overseeing the conference. Ron Nicola and Aaron House will represent the Association throughout the week and will be available to answer any questions you may have.  Additionally, the Association employs 24-hour medical and security personnel.

Scholars are organized into groups of approximately 20. We call these groups Teams and each of them has two Team Leaders. Team Leaders are an outstanding group of individuals who volunteer their time to support this event. Most Team Leaders are former scholarship recipients themselves.

You will also have the chance to meet some of the Scholar Coordinators with whom you connected during the College Success Program (U.S.) and University Success Program (Canada).

A full medical team (doctors, nurses, EMT) will be onsite for the duration of the conference, will travel with us to all events, and also be available overnight at the Fairmont Hotel.

We have the medical form that you submitted on file. Please inform us of any new developments. Be certain to bring any medical supplies/medications that you may require.

All of your meals and lodging will be covered by the Association. However, you may want to bring spending money to purchase souvenirs. Since the conference schedule is very full, it is suggested that you purchase incidentals you may need before leaving home. You will not be allowed under any circumstance to leave the group to make purchases upon arrival.

We encourage you to share this information with an adult who can help you prepare for the trip. That includes family members, family friends, your teacher or school counselor, employers, and/or community organizations. 

If you have any questions about the conference dress code, please contact a Scholar Service Coordinator.  

Bring only necessities. Leave room in your luggage for gifts you will receive onsite as well as any souvenirs you buy.

Clothes Needed

  • Suits or dresses
  • Sports jacket
  • Slacks/khakis
  • Ties for each day
  • Dress shirt for each day
  • Light dress jacket/blazer
  • Cardigan or sweater
  • If applicable, pantyhose for each day (bring several pairs)
  • If applicable, black/skin tone pantyhose/stockings for formal events
  • White undershirts
  • Comfortable dress shoes, dress socks, dress belt, black socks
  • 1-2 pairs of nice jeans and casual shirts
  • 1 pair of casual shoes for free time

Clothes Not Needed

  • Flip flops or casual sandals
  • Shorts
  • Sleeveless shirts or tank tops
  • Sunback or spaghetti strap tops
  • Short skirts
  • Clothing that exposes your midsection
  • Ripped or torn clothing

Provided by the hotel

  • Iron and ironing board
  • Blow dryer
  • Hangers
  • Sample sizes of shampoo/body wash/hand soap

Items Needed

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Batteries (if necessary)

We will visit locations throughout Washington, D.C. When in doubt, dress professionally. Avoid sheer or low-cut tops as well as skirts that are more than one inch above the knee. You can dress casually while touring the city on April 6 and on departure day, April 7.

It is very important that you wear comfortable shoes at all times (that includes your business attire). We will be walking a lot. “Comfortable shoes” does not mean sneakers. Do not wear new shoes or extremely high heels.

The Association will provide black gowns and tuxedos for you to wear to the Awards Induction Ceremony. The gowns/tuxedos will be checked for fit after you arrive in Washington. Tuxedos will come with shoes; please bring black socks. Dresses do not come with shoes, therefore, please bring a pair of black or nude color pantyhose (if applicable) and black dress shoes to wear with the formal dress.

See the images below for reference of appropriate clothing worn by Scholars at the Conference:

We understand that traveling alone can be an anxiety-inducing experience. Please review our travel tips below to help you navigate the travel day.

  • Most major airlines and Amtrak have free mobile apps that provide prompt and accurate information on boarding gates, terminal maps, etc. to aid you while you are in transit.  We encourage you to download the app for the airline you are flying/train you are taking.
  • The evening before you travel, check your flight/train status by visiting the website of the airline/train you will be using. Use the provided travel information to review your itinerary. If you see any problems, contact the Association immediately.
  • If you are checking luggage, go to your airline’s ticket counter or self-serve kiosk inside the terminal. The curbside check-in counter does not take cash payment.
  • Verify with the agent at the ticket counter the gate number for your flight/train. You may also need to have the agent print your boarding pass. You may do it yourself at one of the airline’s/train station’s check-in kiosks. If you are checking luggage, they will put a luggage claim tag on your bag(s). Make sure that you wait for them to do this before leaving the desk; they will provide you with a copy of the claim tag.
  • If your bag needs to be inspected, follow all issued instructions.
  • Follow signs to your assigned gate and to the security check area leading to your assigned gate.
  • Once you arrive at your assigned gate, stay alert and check departure screens near the gate in case there are any gate change announcements.
  • If you are scheduled to change planes during your trip:
    • As soon as you get off the plane and enter the terminal, find the nearest airline agent and verify the terminal and gate number for your connecting flight.
    • You also can check departure screens to find the terminal and gate number for your connecting flight.
    • If you are concerned about being able to make it to the connecting gate in time for your departure, find an airline agent and ask for their help getting to the proper gate as quickly as possible.
  • When you land at your final destination, follow the airport signs to the baggage claim area or to the information desk if traveling by train. This is where you will meet representatives from Horatio Alger’s event team, who will hold a sign that says “Horatio Alger” and help you with your luggage to the shuttles and the Fairmont Hotel.