The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program was established in 1988 by William G. Bowen, the then president of The Mellon Foundation. Today, the program has grown to include 48 member schools and three consortia, including three South African universities and a consortium of historically black colleges and universities within the membership of the UNCF.
Whittier College is part of the West Coast Region of the MMUF program, which includes Caltech, Heritage University, Stanford, University of New Mexico, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCR, USC, and two consortia (five Cal State campuses, and the Claremont Colleges).
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 humanities and social science 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. Under the two-year fellowship, selected students will receive financial support to engage in independent research through the academic and summer periods, attend and present their research at local and national conferences, one-on-one support from faculty mentors at Whittier, and will engage with other MMUF Fellows at Mellon-sponsored events.
Fall Semester Cycle: The application is due on the first Friday of November.
Spring Semester Cycle: The application is due on the first Friday in March.
Use this guide to help you gather your application documents. Request these items two weeks prior to the deadline.
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.
A complete application consists of:
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)
Cohort 13 (2020-2021)
Associate Professor of Education & Child Development
Office: Philadelphia House, Room 201
Professor of History
Office: Hoover, 1st Floor
562.907.4200, ext. 4312
Sylvia A. Lopez-Vetrone
Professor of Biology
Office: Science Learning Center 305
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.