MACON – Mercer University alumna Hannah Keller was recently selected as one of 10 Lilly Graduate Fellows nationwide by the Lilly Fellows Program.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education and the vocation of the teacher-scholar as they pursue graduate degrees in humanities and the arts.

Keller, from McDonough, earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in May 2019 with majors in history and French and minors in Latin and English.

She will attend The Ohio State University this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in history and plans to become a college professor specializing in medieval history.

“I am honored to have been selected as a member of the 12th cohort of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program,” said Keller. “I owe thanks to Mercer University’s excellent faculty whose advice and encouragement during my undergraduate studies shaped me into a more self-aware and confident scholar.”

Keller’s current research focuses on the intersection between marriage and violence in the Middle Ages. For her master’s thesis at Western Michigan University, she studied several marriages in 15th-century England that were used to damage the political capital of rival lords. Her research seeks to uncover the complexity of marriage strategies in the medieval period and to shed more light on how violence was carried out.

“From her very first semester in introductory history, it was clear that Hannah was a budding scholar. I was honored to guide such a passionate, motivated and innately talented historian,” said Dr. Abigail P. Dowling, associate professor of history. “The research that Hannah started as an undergraduate at Mercer and continues in her graduate studies will reshape our perspective on politics and diplomacy at the pivotal moment of transition from kingdom to early nation-state.”

At Mercer, Keller served as president of the French club, vice president of Phi Alpha Theta honor society and a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Iota Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies. She received the Best in Show Award for academic excellence at the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference, as well as the Phi Alpha Theta Outstanding Major Award, Carlos T. Flick Award in Historical Writing, Sophie Oxley Clark Williams Essay Award, and she was runner-up for the Valerie B. Edmonds Research Award for outstanding use of library resources.

The 12th cohort of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program was selected from among 86 candidates nominated over two years by the 99 schools who are members of the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities. The 10 Fellows were chosen by an eight-member selection committee who interviewed 16 finalists in April.

Lilly Graduate Fellows participate in a three-year program in which they meet regularly with a mentor, attend four conferences, participate in a long-distance colloquium and receive three annual stipends of $3,000 each to use at their discretion.

Founded in 1991, the Lilly Fellows Program seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning through four programmatic initiatives. First, it offers postdoctoral teaching fellowships at Valparaiso University for early career scholars who wish to prepare themselves for positions of teaching, scholarship and leadership within church-related institutions. Second, it supports young men and women of exceptional academic talent who are exploring vocations in church-related higher education during their early years of graduate school in the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program. Third, it maintains a collaborative and ecumenical National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities that sponsors a variety of activities designed to strengthen the mission of church-related institutions. Finally, it offers the Lilly Faculty Fellows Program for mid-career faculty leaders across the disciplines at Network schools to engage the intersections of Christian thought and practice with the academic vocation. The Lilly Fellows Program is based at Christ College, the interdisciplinary honors college of Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana.

About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as the academic cornerstone of one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges, it is a diverse and vibrant community, enrolling more than 1,900 students, dedicated to learning and service through the practice of intellectual curiosity, respectful dialogue and responsible citizenry. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers majors in more than 30 areas of study, including more than a dozen pre-professional academic tracks, with classes taught by an outstanding faculty of scholars. In 2015, Mercer was awarded a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society that recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit liberalarts.mercer.edu.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​