President Johnson meets with White House Fellows.
Declaring that "a genuinely free society cannot be a spectator society," President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the establishment of the White House Fellows Program in the East Room of the White House in October 1964. Prompted by the suggestion of John W. Gardner, then President of the Carnegie Corporation, President Johnson's intent was to draw individuals of exceptionally high promise to Washington for one year of personal involvement in the process of government.
The White House Fellowship was created as a non-partisan program. It has strictly maintained this tradition during both Republican and Democratic administrations and, through the cross-fertilization of ideas and experience, has enriched the practice of public policy for more than three decades.
The mission of the non-partisan White House Fellows Program, as envisioned by President Johnson, was in his words, "to give the Fellows first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs." In return for the Fellowship year, President Johnson expected the Fellows to "repay that privilege" when they left by "continuing to work as private citizens on their public agendas." He hoped that the Fellows would contribute to the nation as future leaders.