Overview of MMUF

About MMUF

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program is the centerpiece of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s initiatives to reduce the serious underrepresentation of minorities in the faculty ranks of institutions of higher learning.  The MMUF program is administered by over one hundred campus coordinators at 42 institutions and a consortium of 39 historically black colleges and universities within the membership of the UNCF.

As of September 2011, approximately 3,733 undergraduate students representing 26 cohorts have been selected as Mellon Fellows.  The student constituency has the distinction of high academic achievement with a 99% retention and graduation rate.  To date approximately 60% of MMUF students continue on to graduate school shortly following the baccalaureate, of which about 33% directly enter PhD programs.

MMUF has been highly successful. To date, over 400 fellows have earned their PhD and are now teaching around the country, with an additional 645 PhDs in progress.  45 of our PhDs have achieved tenure.  There are over 1000 fellows at various stages of graduate study, and MMUF continues to attract the best and the brightest undergraduates.

Dr. Benjamin Mays

Benjamin Elijah Mays was born in 1895 in South Carolina and graduated from Bates College in Maine in 1920. While obtaining his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago, he was ordained into the Baptist ministry. He taught at Morehouse College and at South Carolina State College. From 1934 to 1940, Mays served as dean of the Howard University School of Religion and then moved on to the presidency of Morehouse College, a position he held with distinction for the next quarter of a century. He also served his community well, becoming the first black president of the Atlanta school board.

Mays 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 was a model for one of his Morehouse students, Martin Luther King, Jr. and he served the young minister as an unofficial senior advisor. Mays 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; The Negro’s God, of 1938; Disturbed About Man, of 1969; and his auto-biography Born to Rebel, of 1971. These books reveal a combination of sharp intellect, religious commitment, and prophetic conviction.

Supported Fields of Study

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship supports the following fields of study:

1.  Anthropology and Archaeology

2.  Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies

3.  Art History     

4.  Classics

5.  Computer Science

6.  Geography and Population Studies 

7.  Earth/Environmental/Geological Science and Ecology

8.   English

9.    Film, Cinema and Media Studies (theoretical focus)

10.  Musicology and Ethnomusicology

11.  Foreign Languages and Literatures

12.  History

13.  Linguistics

14.  Literature     

15.  Mathematics

16.  Oceanographic/Marine/Atmospheric/Planetary Science

17.  Performance Studies (theoretical focus)

18.  Philosophy and Political Theory

19.  Physics and Astronomy

20.  Religion and Theology

21.  Sociology

22.  Theater (non-performance focus)

23. Interdisciplinary Studies: Interdisciplinary areas of study may be eligible if they have one or more Mellon fields at their core; MMUF program coordinators should please consult with Mellon Foundation program staff before selecting students in such areas to participate in MMUF.