About MMUF


Established in 1988, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) was founded to address the obstacles contributing to underrepresentation in higher education faculty. The fellowship is committed to fostering a diverse professoriate and advocating for the importance of multiple perspectives in the humanities and related fields. It seeks to amplify accounts, interpretations, and narratives that broaden current understandings. The fellowship pays tribute to Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, a prominent African-American educator, statesman, minister, and former president of Morehouse College.

The program began with a cohort of eight member institutions and has since expanded to include forty-seven member schools and three consortia. 

Up to this point, the program has produced more than 1,100 PhDs, with almost 800 of them currently serving as college professors and 300 applying their humanities training in various venues, such as museums, nonprofit organizations, publishing houses, and government positions. At any given time, about 800 MMUF fellows are enrolled in PhD programs, while the fellowship supports approximately 500 undergraduate students each year.

Mellon partners with member colleges and universities through a pipeline process that highlights mentoring, research support, programming, and building student cohorts to identify and support students of great promise, guiding them to become scholars and professionals of the highest distinction.

Mission: The Higher Learning Strategy 

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship is housed in the “Higher Learning” category of the Mellon Foundation and reflects one of its three grantmaking priorities:

“Elevating the knowledge that informs more complete and accurate narratives of the human experience and lays the foundation for more just and equitable futures.”

Higher Learning awards grants with the aim of magnifying perspectives and contributions that have been marginalized in the traditional scholarly record, fostering the achievement of a more socially just world. We refer to this goal as multivocality, and it lies at the heart of MMUF’s commitment. The Mellon Foundation seeks to nurture students whose work exemplifies a drive toward transformative academic leadership and the realization of a more socially just world.”

Please visit the Mellon Foundation website to learn more about the History of MMUF

Learn about who we are and our core values.