Willamette Joins Watson Foundations Prestigious List of 50

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation has chosen Willamette University as one of its 50 participating institutions. Other participating institutions, all of which are private, liberal arts schools, include Amherst, Grinnell, Occidental, Swarthmore and Whitman colleges. Individual colleges and universities chosen as participating institutions by the Watson Foundation are eligible to nominate graduating seniors for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

This prestigious national fellowship awards a $22,000 grant ($31,000 for fellows accompanied by a spouse or dependent child) to college graduates of unusual promise. This grant provides these fellows the freedom to engage in independent study and travel abroad for one year following their graduation. In addition to the grant, the Foundation will provide an amount equal to 12 months payment of outstanding federally guaranteed student loans. This extra payment is meant to encourage all students, regardless of student loan debt, to apply for the Watson Fellowship.

"Willamette's inclusion in the list reflects the Watson Foundation's sense that this University produces creative leaders who will make a difference in the world," said Tori Haring-Smith, dean of Willamette's College of Liberal Arts. "This fellowship will help Willamette attract students who are potential leaders and who have an intellectually adventurous spirit. This fellowship provides seniors a rare opportunity to learn independent problem-solving skills in a global context by spending a year pursuing a question about which they are passionate."

Up to 60 Watson fellows are selected each spring from among 190 candidates nominated by the 50 participating institutions. Willamette University will have the opportunity to nominate graduating seniors for the fellowship this 2001-2002 school year. Former Watson fellows include CEO's of international corporations, best-selling authors, ambassadors, Broadway producers and college presidents.

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation was founded in 1961 as a charitable trust by Mrs. Thomas J. Watson Sr. in honor of her late husband. In 1968, in recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Wastson's long-standing interest in education and world affairs, their children decided that the fellowship program should identify individuals who demonstrate integrity, imagination, strong ethical character, intelligence, the capacity for vision and leadership, the promise of creative achievement and excellence within a chosen field and the potential for humane and effective participation in the world community. Since 1968, the foundation has granted over 2,000 Watson Fellowship awards with stipends totaling approximately $25,812,000.