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Davis scholars

History/Program explanation

Macalester’s commitment to internationalism has long made the college exceptional among U.S. liberal arts schools. At the same time, the international imperative also aligns Macalester with other programs that foster global citizenship.

One such alignment began in the late 1980s, when Macalester was among the first U.S. colleges to admit students from the United World Colleges, a network of five international schools. The German educator Kurt Hahn originally envisioned the United World Colleges (UWCs) as places where young people from all over the world could study side by side. Students between the ages of 16-18 are grounded in their own culture but remain open to explore and influence each other, to recognize and respect difference, and find common ground. In the process, they learn how to reduce racial, religious, and cultural misunderstanding.

Today there are 13 UWCs ( on five continents. They attract bright, adventurous students who complete their final two years of secondary school by earning the International Baccalaureate diploma. U.S. students also attend UWCs.

Over the last 25 years, Macalester has educated more than 230 UWC graduates, including Tonderai Chikuhwa ’96, Senior Program Officer in UN Office for Children and Armed Conflict, the 2009 recipient of the Turck Global Citizen Award.

Shelby M. Cullom Davis and his wife Gale have strengthened Macalester’s partnership with the UWCs through the Davis UWC Scholars Program (  Under the direction of Philip O. Geier, President Emeritus of the UWC-USA, the Davis UWC Scholars Program closes the economic gap that stood between UWC graduates and American college degrees. Scholarships to UWC graduates insure that:

  • promising future leaders from all cultures can given greater educational opportunities at American colleges and universities; and
  • American institutions of higher education can become better learning communities because their student bodies become more internationally diverse and reflective of the real world around them.

Support to Macalester from the Davis UWC Scholars Program totals more than $13 million. “On an individual level, it provides bright, globally-engaged students the chance to study and learn in the United States along with students from 75 countries,” says Macalester President Brian Rosenberg. “On a larger scale, it demonstrates a tremendous commitment to the idea that international education, especially in these troubled times, has a significant impact in the world.”

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