Fontaine Society

Fontaine Fellowships support the education of the most underrepresented groups in PhD education.

In 1970 an endowment was established posthumously in honor of Dr. William Fontaine, Professor of Philosophy, the first African-American appointed to the Standing Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. From its inception, the endowment, known as the “Fontaine Fellowship” has been used to advance the University’s goals related to diversity. Originally restricted to students from groups “traditionally and historically underrepresented” in higher education – specifically U.S. African American, Native American, and Hispanic students – diversity is now more broadly defined, and may include, for example, first-generation college students who are from low income families, or students whose backgrounds are most underrepresented in a specific discipline or field.

Fontaine funding, in combination with other resources, is used by the schools to recruit a diverse class of PhD students. Fontaine Fellows receive graduate financial aid that is identical to all other funded students in their respective doctoral programs. In addition, the Fontaine Society provides members with opportunities to come together throughout the year to support one another’s academic progress and enhance the University campus as a whole, through their contributions to the scholarly community.

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