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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Macalester Receives $373,000 Mellon Grant for Student Fellowships

January 29, 2010 – St. Paul, Minn.– Macalester College has received a $373,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York to continue the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program through the 2012-2013 academic year. The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to increase diversity in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning.

MMUF aims to reduce over time the serious underrepresentation of certain minority groups on college faculties as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities. The program serves the related goals of structuring campus environments so that they will be more conducive to improved racial and ethnic relations, and of providing role models for all youth. MMUF aims to achieve its mission by identifying and supporting students of great promise and helping them to become scholars of the highest distinction.

The MMUF program builds a culture of success, which extends beyond the students who are its primary beneficiaries.

“The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship at Macalester College was a truly invaluable experience,” said Tsione Wolde-Michael ’08, doctoral student, Harvard University. “Through the close faculty mentorships, interactions with distinguished intellectuals from across the nation, and rigorous exchanges with other dedicated young scholars, I was afforded the unique opportunity to be a part of a transformative intellectual community; one which cultivated my critical thinking, challenged my scholarship, and developed me into a producer of knowledge. Unquestionably, no other facet of my undergraduate education was more instrumental in supporting my intellectual growth and preparation for graduate school than the MMUF program.”

The renewed program at Macalester will: 1) emphasize faculty mentorships; 2) more fully nurture the intellectual cohort formed by the Mellon fellows; and 3) provide additional opportunities for engagement with the wider intellectual community. 

Since 2000, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Macalester has helped 45 students of color, of whom nearly half have enrolled in graduate programs. These numbers are among the highest of MMUF colleges. 

During this time, Macalester has built a broad base of mentors within the faculty, reflecting the students’ breadth of intellectual and disciplinary interests. Some fellows have served as mentors within the Department of Multicultural Life’s Emerging Scholars Program, encouraging younger students to aspire to become knowledge producers.  History Professor Peter Rachleff and American Studies Professor Jane Rhodes co-direct Macalester’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.  Rhodes is also the Dean for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Macalester.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.