Notre Dame Discontinues Fellowship Program for Black Doctoral Candidates

Erskine Peters

The University of Notre Dame has decided to end the funding of the Erskine Peters Fellowship. For the past 11 years, the fellowship program has provided funding for African American doctoral students who were finishing up work on their dissertations. The fellowship period was from August to May. Fellows received a stipend of $30,000, office space, a computer, access to all university resources, and a $2,000 research budget.

The program was named for Erskine Peters, a former English professor at Notre Dame who was an advocate for greater diversity in higher education. Professor Peters died in 1998.

Over the past 11 years, 47 Erskine Peters Fellows have spent a year at Notre Dame while they finished work on their dissertations. From two to five fellows were named each year.

The university’s provost office had funded the program for the past 11 years. It was not an endowed program and funding was on a year-to-year basis. The university did not offer a reason why the program was being discontinued.

Here is a video that offers more information on the Erskine Peters Fellowship.

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  1. Why hasn’t an endowment been established. After 11 years, some of these beneficiaries of the fellowship program should be contributing to the funding to ensure that it is available for future fellows.

  2. I agree with thoroughly_disgusted. In addition, if the University valued the program, especially considering its success rate, they should seek alternative funding from outside the University (public and private sector). I don’t want to have to go there, but it seems more and more since Senator Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, people feel all must be well for black folks. But, the REALITY is, the need for programs like this are crucial to the success of PhD’s.

  3. Very disappointed with this decision. I took a course with Prof. Erskine Peters while at Notre Dame and it is one of the ONLY courses I remember while there. The class changed my life. I’m happy the program has been replaced by another program, but Prof. Erskine Peters was a phenomenal, very generous and rare individual, and I am forever thankful to him for opening up my mind. I only wish that the University of Notre Dame had fully committed to his contributions by establishing an endowment.

  4. The kick back from President Obama’s election has been fierce and still we rise. Thank you Mr. Erskine Peters. You African Openings to the Tree off Life will save the lives of many of our young people. It is a gift that keeps on giving.

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