Swarthmore's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows with President Valerie Smith, fall 2015


The fundamental objective of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) is to increase the number of minority students, and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, who will pursue Ph.D.s in core fields in the arts and sciences.

The program aims to reduce over time the serious underrepresentation on the faculties of individuals from certain minority groups, as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities.

In 1988, under this broad charter, the Mellon Foundation made a long-term commitment to help remedy the serious shortage of faculty of color in higher education through the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship program.

In 2003, the Foundation reaffirmed its commitment and broadened the mission of MMUF. The name of the program was changed to the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, to symbolically connect the mission to the stellar educational achievements of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.

The MMUF Program at Swarthmore

In 1988, Swarthmore was one of eight charter institutions chosen to participate in the program. The first cohort chosen here in 1989 included six students. In 2004, the MMUF Program celebrated its first 100 Ph.Ds. Swarthmore fellows made up 10 percent of this group. By 2006, over 200 Ph.Ds had been earned by program fellows; 13 of these were Swarthmore undergraduates, nearly seven percent of the total.