Graduate School News

The Royster Society of Fellows Welcomes 27 New Graduate Students

August 28, 2009

View photos from the new fellows field trip on August 29, 2009

Twenty-seven new graduate students from around the world are beginning their first semester at UNC Chapel Hill with five-year fellowships in the Royster Society of Fellows. These students were recruited to Chapel Hill with highly competitive fellowships funded by private gifts. For the first time this year, eleven students were recruited with Chancellor’s Fellowships, awarded by the Graduate School as part of the Royster Society of Fellows program.

“We are extremely appreciative of Chancellor Holden Thorpe’s recognition that we need to attract the best and brightest graduate students to Carolina. The quality of this University depends on it,” said Steve Matson, Dean of the Graduate School. “This new funding for Chancellor’s Fellows has enabled graduate programs across the University to successfully compete with the best institutions in the country for these exceptional graduate students.”

The Royster Society of Fellows was endowed in the late 1990’s by Dr. Thomas S. and Mrs. Carolina H. Royster to attract outstanding graduate students to Carolina. It provides full financial support, interdisciplinary learning, professional development, and a mentoring network to enable students to excel in their graduate studies. Over 100 students receive funding and participate in the Royster Society of Fellows of the Graduate School each year.

The graduate students awarded these fellowships have been selected through a highly competitive process, in which finalists are chosen from hundreds of applicants nominated by their respective graduate programs. A committee of faculty decides which applicants will be offered the fellowships based upon their academic performance, research, work, service and life experiences, and their promise for leadership in the future.

The new fellows will kick off the year together on Saturday with a trip to the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, which honors African-American heritage of North Carolina. Royster Society of Fellows Director and Professor of Religious Studies Laurie Maffly-Kipp said, “Our annual field trip for the first-year fellows gives us all the opportunity to become acquainted with one another. And it also gives these graduate students, who come to us from around the globe, the chance to become acquainted with our state, its people and its history. It’s a fitting way to begin their graduate experience since they will soon be teaching North Carolina students and conducting research that will impact the state.”

For more information, please contact Graduate School Associate Dean Sandra Hoeflich: 919-962-6323,