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Fall Campus 2018
Beauty shot of Ayres Hall on November 7, 2018. Photo by Steven Bridges

UT has been named one of the nation’s top producing Fulbright Student campuses. With 16 students receiving Fulbright US Student Awards in 2019–20, UT ranks seventh among public research universities and is the top-ranked SEC school.

Each year the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top-producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the US government’s flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education published the list today.

“When our students receive these prestigious national recognitions, it shows the world that great things are happening at the University of Tennessee’s land-grant flagship campus,” said David Manderscheid, provost and senior vice chancellor. “We congratulate our Fulbright scholars, whose hard work, talents, and curiosity about the world have enabled them to have these life-changing experiences. We look forward to seeing what they do next.”

Andrew Seidler, director of UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF), which works with students as they apply for prestigious awards such as the Fulbright, said the results speak to a campus-wide effort.

“I’m proud of our recipients who made this national recognition possible for UT,” Seidler said. “But I also want to recognize the broader commitment to excellence exemplified by each of our candidates and the faculty and staff across UT who support them.”

Vice Provost for Student Success Amber Williams echoed that sentiment.

“At UT, we are committed to supporting each student’s unique strengths and goals. We pull together as a community to share challenges and to do big things. The increase in applications to nationally competitive awards is a testament to that commitment,” Williams said.

Looking at preliminary numbers, UT may be headed toward another strong Fulbright year.

Last year, UT had 68 Fulbright candidates and 41 semifinalists, and ended up with 17 students offered Fulbrights, with one student declining the award. In fall 2019 UT put forward 67 candidates for this year’s Fulbright awards, and a record 44 of them were short-listed as semifinalists in January. Additionally, more than 40 UT faculty and staff participated in campus Fulbright interviews coordinated by ONSF last fall. Final award notifications will be made throughout the spring.

The Fulbright Program was created in 1946 to produce lasting professional and personal connections between the people of the United States and those of other countries. Since its inception, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 participants the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 2,200 US students and more than 900 US college and university faculty and administrators are awarded Fulbright grants annually. In addition, some 4,000 foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the US annually. The program is active in more than 160 countries throughout the world.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by Congress to the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The bureau sponsors the Fulbright program, and several nonprofit cooperative partners implement and support the program on its behalf.

“We are delighted to see that the colleges and universities we are honoring as 2019–2020 Fulbright top producing institutions reflect the geographic and institutional diversity of higher education in the United States,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, in a Fulbright press release. “These Fulbrighters serve as citizen ambassadors for the United States in their host communities, and we will benefit from the skills, knowledge, and global connections they build on their exchanges long after they return home.”

UT students and recent graduates interested in the Fulbright or other nationally competitive awards can visit UT’s ONSF Fulbright page and meet with ONSF staff to learn more about the UT campus application process, which opens each spring. UT faculty interested in the Fulbright can attend an information session March 5 at 10 a.m. in Student Union Room 362A or contact Alan Rutenberg in the Office of Research and Engagement.


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,

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