United States Air Force Academy

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Martinson Honors Program

The Academy Scholars program was recently renamed the Martinson Honors Program following a generous donation from Mr. John Martinson (Class of ’70). Watch this video to learn why Mr. Martinson donated to the program, the Dean’s vision for developing the program with the use of this gift and the benefits that the Scholars enjoy as part of the program.

The Martinson Honors Program supports and promotes academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and engaged learning at the U.S. Air Force Academy. As a holistic program that integrates an innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum with unique co-curricular enrichment experiences, the Martinson Honors Program provides a community of diverse, thoughtful, and inquisitive warrior scholars the opportunity to develop original perspectives on the history of ideas and produce creative approaches to problem-solving.

Martinson Honors Program graduates are prepared for challenging, twenty-first century command positions and possess the intellectual curiosity and commitment to lifelong learning that will foster their growth as future officers, thinkers, and leaders.

The Scholars in the Martinson Honors Program (MHP) enter a small and diverse community of students and faculty engaged in an integrated program of broad learning across and beyond the Academy curriculum, applying their advanced understanding of science and technology as well as a deep comprehension of social, political, cultural, and economic factors to some of the greatest issues facing the contemporary and future United States military. Scholars confront difficult problems by closely analyzing primary sources and engaging in project-based learning while participating in high-level discussions with intellectual and industry leaders.

The curriculum consists primarily of smaller-sized, discussion-based core course sections that deepen and broaden Scholars’ intellectual development as a complement to existing academic, leadership, military training, and athletics programs. In addition, these specialized core Scholars sections allow faculty to explore innovative pedagogies that may inform curricular transformation at both the departmental and institutional levels. Participating cadets must complete at least nine Scholars-designated offerings of core courses and the Scholars capstone course. The MHP invites interested and eligible cadets to apply for entry to the program based on their performance in their first semester. Each year’s cohort is kept small to promote cohesion and intellectual engagement and maximize program resources.


In the News

Philanthropist and 1970 Academy graduate John Martinson pledges $10 million, creating additional opportunities for cadets and faculty and elevating the honors program. Read the Stars and Stripes article.

Dozens of Class of 2022 grads earn prestigious scholarships. Approximately 65% of Scholars who graduated from the program head directly to graduate school from the Academy. Of the students that go to graduate school, about 30% of them are Scholars.

Past Events

Attended the 2022 Annual Conference – National Collegiate Honors Council, 2-6 Nov 2022

Faculty attended, and Col Miriam Krieger spoke at the 2022 Aspen Security Forum, put on by the Aspen Institute.

Martinson Honors Program Director, Dr. Diana Polley, attended the Aspen Socrates Seminar on Americanism, July 2022.

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Contact Us

Martinson Honors Program Office
2354 Fairchild Drive, Suite 3A15
McDermott Library
USAFA, CO 80840


Director: Dr. Diana H. Polley
Humanities: Dr. Douglas Leonard
Social Sciences: Prof. Douglas McKechnie
Basic Sciences: Dr. David Westmoreland
Engineering: Dr. Samuel Stanton