Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program

Andrew W. MellonThe life achievements and distinguished service of the African American scholar, Benjamin Mays (1894-1984), have been fully elaborated by historians and political commentators: among many things, he was an educator, mentor, newspaper columnist, scholar, author, and civil rights activist. Bound by the culture of social justice, Mays also served as dean of the Howard University School of Religion, president of Morehouse College, advisor to Presidents Johnson and Carter, and president of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education—the first African American to serve in that capacity.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program was established (1988) through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand minority faculty in higher education. It was considered appropriate to rename (2003) the fellowship in honor of Dr. Mays based on his vision, service to community, and commitment to the promotion of undergraduate education among traditionally marginalized populations, including those with interest in studies aimed at eliminating racial inequalities.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship established at Bowdoin (1992) is administered in ways that reflect Mays’ political legacies. Traditionally marginalized persons of color and those who are qualified and have demonstrated the appropriate intellectual drive for higher education are targeted, encouraged, and provided access to:

  • Participation in a rigorous intellectual program, and engagement in independent research and other scholarly activities with faculty mentors
  • Institutional support and an academic environment that is saturated with the values and principles of excellence in education
  • Structured programming and faculty mentoring, term-time stipends and support for research activities, and limited repayment of undergraduate loans upon pursuit of doctoral study in one of the designated fields

There are two broad conditions applicable to the program. Fellows are expected to (i) apply to a doctoral program in a Mellon-designated field within 39 months of graduation; (ii) pursue doctoral degrees in one of the Mellon-identified areas of academic studies.

Application Information

PreparationApplication TimelineGraduate Admissions TestFinding and Evaluating Graduate ProgramsReference LettersAdmissions EssayTranscriptsSupplemental MaterialsApplication Fees and Expense WorksheetConfirming Receipt of Application MaterialsComparing Funding PackagesGeneral Resources