Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops leaders and institutions to meet the nation’s critical challenges. In June 2020, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the organization and to remove Woodrow Wilson from its name; a new name is expected in early fall 2020. Read the full statement here.
The Woodrow Wilson Fellowships responded to a shortage of college faculty at the conclusion of World War II by offering talented students the opportunity to attend doctoral programs and begin college teaching careers. As college enrollments swelled in the latter half of the 20th century, the program prepared generations of faculty, creating a well-known fellowship and becoming a hallmark of academic excellence.
Over time, the Foundation’s fellowships have evolved to address emerging needs, serve specific populations underrepresented in the academy, strengthen designated fields, and support key stages in professorial careers. The WW Foundation has awarded fellowships to more than 27,000 scholars, who now include 16 Nobel Laureates, 41 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellows, 21 Pulitzer Prize winners, 27 recipients of Presidential and national medals, and many others.
Today, the Foundation seeks to build upon this legacy of excellence. It administers a portfolio of fellowships intended both to strengthen American education and to address urgent contemporary challenges. These include programs to promote more gender and racial diversity in American higher education, improve the quality of K–12 education in our country, strengthen STEM teaching in high-need schools, and improve understanding of American history and civics.
The Foundation has recently been expanding the scope of its work to focus on civic education and the promotion of a more informed, productively engaged and hopeful citizenry able to sustain the reality of a democratic republic.
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