Mercer tops list of students studying abroad as Gilman Scholars

Three smiling students on college campus
2021-22 Gilman Scholars (l-r) Kennia Kirksey, Cynthia Osorio-Magana and Marlo Mecredy. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

MACON – The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has recognized Mercer University as one of the nation’s colleges and universities that sent the most scholars abroad through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program during the 2021-22 academic year. Mercer ranked first nationally in the less than 5,000 undergraduates category and topped all institutions in the category fewer than 10,000 students.

Gilman Scholarship expands access and equity in study abroad and international internship opportunities among U.S. undergraduate students with high financial need. The top-producers list represents more than 500 institutions that had a Gilman recipient during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Mercer University has been named the top producer of Gilman scholars among schools smaller than 5,000 students two years in a row, which demonstrates our institutional commitment to making transformative international experiences available to as many students as possible,” said Mercer University Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis. “We are grateful to the State Department for this program, and we are proud to be partners in promoting the Gilman scholarship.”

The state of Georgia did particularly well in the rankings, clinching two of the top-producing spots. Mercer with 28 students receiving the award, followed by Emory with 25 students.

“The Gilman scholarship is perfectly aligned with Mercer University’s mission to change the world one student at a time,” said Dr. David A. Davis, professor of English and director of fellowships and scholarships. 

He added that these scholarships allow students with high financial need to participate in study abroad programs and Mercer On Mission, allowing them to broaden their perspectives, develop new skills and address global needs. “These experiences have a transformative effect on the students, and the students have a transformative effect on the world,” he said. 

The Gilman Scholarship Program has made studying abroad more accessible by providing scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduate students who, due to high financial need, might not otherwise go abroad. Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 41,000 Gilman scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories have studied or interned abroad in more than 155 countries.

Gilman Scholar DeeDee Cudjoe poses at the University of Sussex sign in Brighton, England

Mercer senior Donnell Dina (DeeDee) Cudjoe, a media studies major, was able to study abroad in England this past spring and says she wouldn’t have been able to go abroad without the Gilman Scholarship.

“I’m just really grateful for the program,” she said. “I was able to make so many friends and memories and learn so much about cultures outside of my own while abroad. I hope everyone gets to experience something like that at some point in their lives.” 

Mercer administers the Gilman competition through the Office of Global Education. For more information, contact or 478-301-5964.