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"MMUF aims to achieve its mission by identifying and supporting students of great promise and helping them to become scholars of the highest distinction."

History of the Program

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropic organization, founded in June of 1969. Its mission is to "aid and promote such religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes as may be in the furtherance of the public welfare or tend to promote the well-doing or well-being of mankind." In 1988, under this broad charter, the 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 (MMUF) Program. The program later changed its name to the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, to honor the outstanding achievements of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, the founder and visionary of the program.

The fundamental objective of MMUF is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students, and others committed to diversity in higher education who will pursue PhDs in Mellon approved fields in the arts and sciences. The Program aims to reduce over time the chronic under-representation of minority groups within American and South African colleges and universities, while also addressing the attendant educational consequences of these disparities.

Under the leadership of Dr. Armando Bengochea, the national program officer and director, the national MMUF Program now has a membership of 47 American colleges and universities, in addition to 39 UNCF member institutions and three South African universities.  

MMUF at Emory University

Emory University has enjoyed 21 years of comprehensive participation in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. From 2001 to 2008, Dr. Rudolph Byrd established the vision for the MMUF Program at Emory and served as the Program's coordinator, executing its mission and providing leadership for all dimensions of the Program. Currently, Drs. Dianne Stewart and Maria Carríon serve as coordinator and co-coordinator respectively. Dr. Susan Ashmore serves as the MMUF faculty liaison at Emory's Oxford College.

The MMUF Program at Emory has executed its mission with important outcomes and accomplishments that bear witness to the power of the Program's vision and its potential to transform the academy a few minds at a time. Emory's program has hosted the annual UNCF/Mellon Summer Institute since 1994, attesting to its distinctive role as a regional leader within MMUF's national program. 

Monthly Fellow Seminar

One of the hallmarks of Emory's MMUF Program is its monthly Mellon Seminar. Throughout the academic year, and with the assistance of a stellar team of Mellon graduate mentors, we explore such topics as applying to graduate school, collegiality and exemplary academic citizenship, the habits of an intellectual, time management, research methods, and developing a scholarly research trajectory. Each year, fellows present their research in a variety of venues, especially the MMUF Southeastern Regional Conference and Emory's MMUF Annual Research Conference. Fellows also develop research skills and refine their academic projects during the Dr. Rudolph P. Byrd Summer Program at Emory University. 

Emory's MMUF activities also include: opportunities for social and collegial bonding during the academic year, participation in the MMUF Southeastern Regional Conferences and our annual Emory MMUF convocation, and attending our commencement banquets. The MMUF Southeastern Regional Conference meetings execute the goals of the MMUF Program, by supporting research projects, providing professional development, guiding fellows through the graduate admissions process to presitigious institutions, and cultivating impressive academic profiles.