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. Established in 1988 by William G. Bowen, then the president of the Foundation (and former Princeton president), and Mellon program associate Henry Drewry, the MMUF program began with an initial cohort of eight member institutions. Princeton joined the program in 1989.

The program has grown to include 46 member schools and consortia, including three South African universities and a consortium of historically black colleges and universities within the membership of the UNCF. As of 2014, over 4000 students have been selected as fellows, more than 500 of whom have earned the PhD and 85 of whom are now tenured faculty members. The great majority of those who have completed the PhD hold or have held an appointment in the academy. Current and past Princeton fellows are listed elsewhere on this website.


Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program Mission Statement

The fundamental objective of MMUF is to address, over time, the problem of underrepresentation in the academy at the level of college and university faculties. This goal can be achieved both by increasing the number of students from underrepresented minority groups (URM) who pursue PhDs and by supporting the pursuit of PhDs by students who may not come from traditional minority groups but have otherwise demonstrated a commitment to the goals of MMUF. The MMUF program is designed to encourage fellows to enter PhD programs that prepare students for professorial careers.

The MMUF program supports fellows in their academic and personal journey toward the Ph.D. by providing them with:

  • A strong, supportive community of fellow researchers, writers, and thinkers
  • Financial resources in the form of stipends during the academic year and research funding during the summer months.
  • Faculty mentorship
  • Professional development opportunities, including academic conference attendance, GRE preparation, training in research and writing strategies, graduate application mentorship, etc.
  • Eligibility for loan forgiveness up to $10,000 (contingent upon entrance into and successful completion of a Ph.D. program) 


Princeton Mellon Mays Community Statement

The Princeton Mellon Mays Fellows have developed the following statement to describe the ethos of the Mellon community on our campus. We hope to encourage future young scholars to consider joining our community and invite the participation of Princeton faculty, staff, and community members!

The PU MMUF is a dynamic scholarly community. We cultivate intellectual development of the individual voice at all levels in the academy. We foster dialogue about our academic work, professional goals, and the social justice issues we care about while receiving mentorship relevant to the unique challenges marginalized scholars in academia face, as well as guidance in pursuing graduate study. These efforts will fuel our fight to redress historical underrepresentation and exclusion within the academy.