Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship
With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship was established in 1988 to reduce, over time, the serious underrepresentation on faculties of individuals from minority groups, as well as to address the consequences of these racial disparities for the education system and the larger community that it serves.
The program is named in honor of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, mentor and unofficial senior advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. The MMUF program has been established at forty-two elite college and universities and thirty-nine members of the United Negro College Fund.
MMUF aims to identify and support students of great promise and help them to become scholars of the highest distinction.
In the 3,733 students that have or are currently participating nationally, MMUF has produced 405 PhDs with another 645 in progress.
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
- Anthropology and Archaeology
- Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies
- Art History
- Computer Science
- Geography and Population Studies
- Earth/Environmental/Geological Science and Ecology
- Film, Cinema and Media Studies (theoretical focus)
- Musicology and Ethnomusicology
- Foreign Languages and Literatures
- Oceanographic/Marine/Atmospheric/Planetary Science
- Performance Studies (theoretical focus)
- Philosophy and Political Theory
- Physics and Astronomy
- Religion and Theology
- Theater (non-performance focus)