Originally launched as the Ford Diversity Fellows program fifty years ago, the initiative is designed to support efforts to build a more equitable higher education system by awarding fellowships to young scholars from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women. Over five decades, it has awarded five thousand fellowships to scholars from diverse backgrounds, enabling them to pursue advanced studies in a wide range of subjects and reach the highest echelon of academia. The program's alumni include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, civil rights activist and author Cornel West, and Juliet Garc�a, president of the University of Texas-Brownsville — the first Latina U.S. college president.
Administered by the Fellowships Office of the National Research Council, the program offers predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships to U.S. citizens with evidence of superior academic achievement who commit to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level.
"The future of our country rests on our ability to have every individual contribute to the well-being of our nation to the maximum of his or her ability," said Ford Foundation president Luis Ubi�as. "Education is the foundation of that contribution....I am proud to continue this tradition."