2021 Commencement Information
The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is administered at 38 colleges and universities nationwide, a consortium of 39 member institutions of the United Negro College Fund, and three leading universities in South Africa. Whittier College is part of the West Coast Region of the MMUF, which includes Stanford, Caltech, USC, UC Berkeley, and UCLA.
Open to students of all races and ethnicities, the program's fundamental objective is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups, and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, who will pursue a Ph.D. and enter the professoriate in core arts-and-sciences fields. It is the goal of the program that these individuals will ultimately help to equalize the ethnic and racial composition of faculties in higher education and address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities.
Annually, five Whittier College students will be selected as Mellon Fellows, and will explore their interest in college teaching in disciplines of special interest to the Foundation. Students will receive tuition assistance, summer research opportunities, and academic-year support through faculty mentors at Whittier, and will engage with other Fellows at Mellon-sponsored events.
Deadline: Applications are due April 23, 2021.
Students may be nominated by Whittier College instructors or they may nominate themselves. Each nominated student will receive an email and letter encouraging them to apply. Please read the MMUF Handbook for more details.
All applications must include the following:
Cohort 1 (2008-2009)
Cohort 2 (2009-2010)
Cohort 3 (2010-2011)
Cohort 4 (2011-2012)
Cohort 5 (2012-2013)
Cohort 6 (2013-2014)
Cohort 7 (2014-2015)
Cohort 8 (2015-2016)
Cohort 9 (2016-2017)
Cohort 10 (2017-2018)
Cohort 11 (2018-2019)
Cohort 12 (2019-2020)
Associate Professor of Education & Child Development
Office: Philadelphia House, Room 201
Associate Professor, History Department
Office: Hoover, 1st Floor
562.907.4200, ext. 4312
Sylvia A. Lopez-Vetrone
Associate Professor Biology Department
Stauffer Science Building, SC408C
562.907.4200, ext., 4424
Benjamin Elijah Mays, was born in 1895 in South Carolina, and graduated from Bates College in Maine in 1920. He went to the University of Chicago for his master's degree and doctorate, and while he was working on those degrees, he was ordained into the Baptist ministry. He taught at Morehouse College and at South Carolina State College. From 1934 to 1940, he served as dean of the Howard University School of Religion and then moved on to the presidency of Morehouse College, a position he distinguished for the next quarter of a century. He also served his community well, becoming the first black president of the Atlanta school board.
He spoke early and often against segregation and for education. He received nearly thirty honorary doctorates and other honors and awards including election to the Schomburg Honor Roll of Race Relations, one of a dozen major leaders so honored. He had been a model for one of his Morehouse students, Martin Luther King, Jr., and he served the young minister as an unofficial senior advisor. He gave the eulogy at King's funeral. Among his books were the first sociological study of African-American religion, The Negro's Church, published in 1933; and The Negro's God, of 1938; Disturbed About Man, of 1969; and his autobiography Born to Rebel, of 1971. These books reveal a combination of sharp intellect with religious commitment and prophetic conviction.
The American National Biography website has a comprehensive biography on Dr. Mays. Click here to read more.