University Fourth Among Top Fulbright Producers with 33 Students and Alumni Named Scholars

Grace Kennard Co-News Editor

The U.S. Department of State recently announced Villanova University as a top producer of 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S. Students. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the U.S. government and sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

Top-producing universities and colleges are recognized annually in “The Chronicle of Higher Education.” The University placed fourth among the top Fulbright producers, behind only Brown University, Princeton University and Georgetown University. According to “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” Villanova has been named to the top-producing doctoral institutions list every year for the past 10 years.

A University-record 33 students and alumni from the University won Fulbright awards for the 2019-2020 academic year. Thirty of these Villanovans are teaching, studying and conducting research abroad. The remaining three recipients chose to forgo the grant to pursue professional degrees or doctoral degrees. Specifically, the three who chose to decline the Fulbright grant are Brianna Conte ’19, Mary Spillane ‘18 and Bridget Gile ’19. They attend medical school at the University of Miami, Florida, work as a mechanical design engineer at L3Harris Technologies and attend Stanford University Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, respectively. Of those who accepted the award and are currently abroad, many are serving as English teaching assistants across the globe.

“As an Augustinian Catholic institution, serving the greater good has always been a focal point of Villanova’s pedagogy,” said University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. “I believe this emphasis on creating positive change coupled with strong academics, has led to hundreds of Villanovans becoming Fulbright Scholars and the University consistently placing among the Fulbright programs’ top-producing institutions. Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients.”

The Center for Research and Fellowships administers the Fulbright program at the University. The current cycle of the Fulbright competition is underway, with semi-finalists expected to be notified over the next two months if they receive an award to go abroad. Forty-six of the 72 Villanova applicants were named semi-finalists.

The Fulbright Program was created in 1946 to maximize mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Annually, more than 2,200 U.S. Students and over 900 U.S. university and college administrators and faculty are awarded Fulbright grants. Additionally, around 4,000 Fulbright Foreign Students and Visiting Scholars come to the United States each year to conduct research, study, lecture or teach their native language.

Since its inception, the Fulbright Program has granted 390,000 driven and passionate students, scholars, artists, teachers and professionals of every background the opportunity to teach, study and conduct research. They have been able to exchange ideas to work towards finding solutions to many diverse, important international problems. The global network of Fulbright recipients fosters mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, advances knowledge across communities and improves lives internationally.

The Fulbright program is active in over 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, corporations, host institutions and foundations within the United States and foreign countries. Many of these organizations also support the Fulbright program directly and indirectly. Several non-profit, cooperative partners implement and support the program on the behalf of the Bureau that sponsors it, the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.