History of the Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellowship
HISTORY AND INTRODUCTION
The idea of creating a fellowship based upon a self-designed program of travel and learning was conceived in 1960 by Amory Houghton, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Corning Glass Works. He worked in collaboration with J. Leslie Rollings, Dean of Admissions at the Harvard Business School, and John H. Finley, Eliot Professor of Greek Literature at Harvard College. They believed that most of the existing fellowships favored students interested primarily in post-graduate academic pursuits. No fellowship, in their view, fully challenged a candidate’s ability to propose and undertake a post-graduate learning experience largely of the student’s making. Such a learning experience would be a valuable complement to the relatively formalized character of the undergraduate program.
The Corning Fellowship program expanded in several stages to include students from Yale, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and North Carolina, in addition to Harvard. Competition was keen among the applicants from all five of these universities. The Corning fellows spent a year traveling around the world. No two programs were alike. As a group, the fellows compiled a remarkable record of accomplishment in politics, law, business, and other fields.
Corning Glass saw its role as innovator and creator, yet not as the source of on-going support. Funding ceased in 1968. Nearly ten years later, the former fellows established the Corning Fellows Association, Inc. and Michael Ainslie, a Vanderbilt alumnus, was elected president of the group. The goal of the Association was to challenge the universities that had previously participated in the Corning program to establish programs of their own. They took this action because they felt that the traveling fellowship had been one of the most important experiences in their lives.
The World Trade Council of Middle Tennessee and alumni contributions have allowed the University to award this fellowship only on an intermittent basis from 1998 through 2004. In 2003, Michael B. Keegan, the 1981 Traveling Fellow, offered to fund the 2004 award and to secure an endowment that would guarantee this program on an annual basis. In recognition of his commitment to the program and to Vanderbilt University, the program has been renamed in Michael Keegan’s honor.
An award of $15,000 will be made to the 2005 Traveling Fellow.
PURPOSE OF THE FELLOWSHIP
The Michael B. Keegan Fellowship enhances the development of future leaders through world travel and experiential learning. The program is designed to allow a graduating senior the opportunity to pursue an idea or an issue, about which the student is impassioned, and to do so in the context of daily life in a global scenario. This program is not designed as either a graduate education or career preparation curriculum. The projects of past fellows have explored aspects of multinational business, maternal and child health care systems, worldwide HIV/AIDS treatment programs, international journalism, orchestral management, and indigenous art and craft production. The Selection Committee tries to identify the applicant who is most likely to succeed in his/her proposed project.
International travel and learning develops a global orientation in the recipient, which the designers of the original fellowship thought essential for active citizenship and leadership in this complicated age. The proposed project must be endorsed by a faculty member who is willing to serve as an advisor to the traveler.
Please contact Sandy Stahl about the 2006-2007 Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellowship. (firstname.lastname@example.org)