Armando Bengochea, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, and Director of Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

FUNDING AREAS: Diversity in higher education, undergraduate fellowships

CONTACT: AIB@mellon.org, 212-838-8400

IP TAKE: One of Bengochea's jobs at Mellon is to realize the foundation's desire for our country's higher education faculty to be a more diverse bunch than it currently is. In years past, he's held similar campus diversity-related responsibilities at several universities, including at Brown University and Connecticut College.

PROFILE: Mellon program officer Armando Bengochea works at the foundation's Diversity Initiative. He oversees their Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) program and directs the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF), taking over the position after Carlotta Arthur's 2011 resignation.

Bengochea attended UPenn for his undergraduate work, received a Ph.D. at Princeton, and acted as dean Freshmen Studies and Associate Dean at Brown University for two decades and as Dean of Connecticut College for five years after that.

In his grants oversight at Mellon, HBCU grants go to 16 historically black private colleges and universities with strong liberal arts programs for undergraduates. University presidents can apply for support to create new institutions or expand existing university librarians can apply for professional development support; faculty members can apply for support to update their curricula. (Initial inquires for the HBCU Program should be directed to Amy Erwin at ae@mellon.org.)

The MMUF fellowship seeks to de-homogenize higher education faculty in the U.S. It encourages students of low-income and minority backgrounds to pursue Ph.D. programs and apply for tenure track jobs. (Over 42 schools and 3,733 students were participating in the program in 2011. Initial inquires for the MMUF Program & Diversity Initiatives should be directed to Elizabeth Foley at eaf@mellon.org, however, Mellon is not currently accepting new institutions into the MMUF program.)

Outside of these two programs, Bengochea also supports grants to "the American Indian College Fund, the Organization for Tropical Studies, the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, and various individual colleges and universities in the United States and abroad." Mellon has given money to the American Indian College Fund since at least 1991. The fund has received steady annual grants of more than half a million dollars under Bengochea's oversight. 

In his previous position as dean of Connecticut College, Bengochea discusses his school's work to increase the diversity of its student population:

VIDEO:

Armando Bengochea - FAQ from Elrico Blancaflor on Vimeo.