Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship



The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was established as a nonprofit philanthropic organization in June 1969 with a mission 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, as it was then known. Henry Drewry, program associate at the Mellon Foundation and co-founder of MMUF with then-president of Mellon William G. Bowen, was MMUF’s first director. Read more…

A signature initiative of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program addresses the problem of underrepresentation in the academy, especially at a time when populations of American college students are more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before. To date almost 850 MMUF fellows have earned PhDs, the majority of whom teach in the academy.  In celebration of the program’s 30th anniversary, this short documentary features interviews with MMUF fellows at all stages of their academic careers, from current undergraduate fellows to faculty members, along with MMUF coordinators and staff of the Mellon Foundation. Please join us in celebrating the success of MMUF and the vital contributions of its alumni toward the diversification of the academy and its scholarship.

A History of Excellence

MMUF PhD Erica Armstrong Dunbar has launched a multiple-book publishing program with Simon & Schuster to produce seven books for adults and children. She is the historical consultant and co-executive producer for HBO’s “The Gilded Age”

An alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Armstrong Dunbar continued her education at Columbia University where she earned her MA and Ph.D.