Grove City College alumnus Andrew Smith ’14 is one of a select group of doctoral students chosen as a Lilly Graduate Fellow.
Smith and nine others were selected from a pool of nearly 100 nominees pursuing graduate degrees at some of the country’s top colleges and universities to receive the fellowships. The fellows will be paired with mentors who are senior scholars, attend conferences, participate in an online colloquium with other fellows and mentors, and receive three annual $3,000 fellowship awards.
“I often tell people that I think I received a better education at Grove City than I would have at most top-tier universities,” Smith said. He graduated from the College with a bachelor’s degree in History with minors in Classical and Biblical and Religious Studies. He is now pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in medieval history at Saint Louis University.
“Not all my colleagues had as much experience digesting, summarizing, and critiquing complex historical arguments. The Grove City history department also gave an excellent introduction to historical theory, which not all undergraduate programs cover,” he said.
With his specific interest in medieval Spain, he plans to focus on political, religious and cultural interactions between Muslims, Jews and Christians. “I think that a more nuanced understanding of the medieval Spanish experience may prove helpful in our own day as we consider how to respond to the increasing mixture of different religious and cultural groups in Europe and America,” Smith said.
After attaining his Ph.D., Smith said he hopes to continue to research and teach, ideally, at a small liberal arts college like Grove City.
The Lilly Fellows Program seeks to “renew and enhance the connections between Christianity and the academic vocation at church-related colleges and universities” and supports initiatives to help scholars in graduate school and throughout their faculty careers. Grove City College is in the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities.
This year, two Grove City College faculty members were selected as Lilly Faculty Fellows, a new initiative for mid-career faculty leaders across the disciplines to engage the intersections of Christian thought and practice with the academic vocation. Dr. Michelle McFeaters ’88, ’02, assistant dean of the Calderwood School and professor of Accounting and Finance, and Dr. Brian J. Dellinger ’07, assistant professor of Computer Science were awarded fellowships and grant funding for a two-year project to create a Lilly Faculty Fellows program on campus.
Grove City College also partners with Lilly Endowment, Inc. for the Project on Rural Ministry. The PRM’s mission is to learn more about rural ministry from the very people who do it — pastors — and help build partnerships between college, church and community. The effort is grounded in the idea that Christian colleges are uniquely positioned to amplify the voices, strengthen the networks and facilitate the ongoing learning of local pastors and ministry leaders.