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Mellon Foundation Grant Helps to Shape Students’ Academic Experiences Outside the Classroom


March 7, 2011
Press Release #11-054

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St. Mary’s College of Maryland has received a $30,000 planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be used to explore ways to strengthen students’ academic experiences outside the classroom.

“St. Mary’s College of Maryland is pleased to be a part of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Liberal Arts Colleges Program, and we are grateful to Mellon for its continued support of our educational initiatives,” says College President Joe Urgo. “This new award will assist us in our commitment to engaging the liberal arts with external opportunities, enriching academic endeavor through experiential learning.”

This grant brings the total support to the College from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to $500,000. Mellon’s first award to St. Mary’s College was a $35,000 grant made in 2000 to develop a case study to present at the 2001 Best Practices Seminar of the Global Partners Project, followed in 2002 by $35,000 planning grant that the College used to reconstruct and focus its international program. This was followed in 2003 by a three-year, $100,000 implementation grant to the Center for the Study of Democracy.  That grant proved to be the catalyst for the increased internationalization of St. Mary’s College.  Promising students from the developing democratic countries of Brazil, The Gambia, Senegal and Thailand came to study at St. Mary’s and St. Mary’s students, in turn, received scholarships to study in those countries.

With the conclusion of the Center’s three-year grant in 2007, Mellon awarded the Center an additional three-year, $150,000 grant to expand St. Mary’s international program by supporting the creation of year-long international symposiums that explored democracy in various parts of the world (Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia) as well as developing the Democracy Studies minor curriculum. 

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has also been a major sponsor of the College’s SlackWater project since 2003. Mellon’s $150,000 grant to assist the SlackWater project in publishing its journals concludes this spring with the release of the seventh journal.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. More than 2,000 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland.