Wilbur Fellowship at the Russell Kirk Center

Russell Kirk Center - Fellowship
Photo Credit: The Russell Kirk Center

About the Program

Deadline: ongoing

Program Dates: TBD

Open to: undergraduate and graduate students

Organisation: The Russell Kirk Center

Location: Mecosta, MI

Deadline:

Program Date:

Open to:

Organization:

Source:

Benefits:

ongoing

TBD

undergraduate and graduate students

The Russell Kirk Center

free housing & a stipend

A Residential Fellowship Program Unlike Any Other

The Wilbur Fellows Program has been in continuous operation for nearly forty years. It counts among its numbers hundreds of alumni currently teaching at secondary and university levels, as well as publishers and editors, officers in the services, business and legal professionals, and religious leaders.

The Kirk Center’s Residential Fellows Program affords students and scholars the ideal conditions in which they can conduct important research and writing. Fellows write books, essays, reviews, and theses while staying at Piety Hill for periods ranging from a few months to one year. Frequent in-house seminars formalize an already close and stimulating intellectual environment.

Since 1979, the Wilbur Fellowship Program has been central to the Mecosta experience for hundreds of students and professors. The program is named for Marguerite Eyer Wilbur, who was born in 1889, graduated from Stanford and the University of Southern California, and subsequently enjoyed an active career advancing the fine arts and the craft of writing. She edited five books and translated nine others, including two by Dumas and several about the exploits of Spanish buccaneers and missionaries in early California. She also authored several books, among them a study of the East India Company and biographies of Francis Drake, Philip II, and Thomas Jefferson.

Chief among Mrs. Wilbur’s ambitions was to create a program for assisting writers of promise, a colony for serious thinkers and artists. She was a great admirer of Russell Kirk’s writings, so late in life she asked him to join with her in the creation of a new foundation that aimed to establish a little literary platoon, a place where aspiring writers and thinkers could reside for periods of time to pursue research and other imaginative endeavors. As Kirk put it, “It seems to me that the work of this foundation is the nurturing of the moral imagination among those who write and read.” Mrs. Wilbur’s lawyer, Gary Ricks, followed her as steward of this program and ably guided it until his retirement.

The program they developed to extend that mission is the Wilbur Fellowship Program, an academic community that was centered about the household of Russell and Annette Kirk. To this day, students and scholars come to Piety Hill to reside, study, and write at what is now the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, founded after Kirk’s death to institutionalize this unique literary community.

Each year undergraduate and graduate students apply for a residential research and study grant. The awardees come to live and work at the Kirk Center which is comprised of six buildings and is centered on Kirk’s Dutch-barn library and his ancestral house.

The Fellowship Program is currently divided into three parts: Junior Fellows and Graduate Fellows reside in Mecosta while working on educational advancement—an independent study, a thesis, dissertation, or book. They are chosen by completing the application process.

Senior Fellows are teaching professionals or persons in the world of affairs who provide intellectual life to the Center by completing their own projects, often as part of a sabbatical, in addition to participating in and leading Center events. While they often spend a period of time in residence, Senior Fellows are not required to do so and often represent the Center to the greater public.

The Wilbur Fellows Program has been in continuous operation for nearly forty years. It counts among its numbers hundreds of alumni currently teaching at secondary and university levels, as well as publishers and editors, officers in the services, business and legal professionals, and religious leaders.

The Kirk Center has also welcomed as Wilbur Fellows scholars and students from Austria, Britain, France, Holland, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland, Russia, and the Czech Republic—giving the Center an important international dimension.

Application deadline: ONGOING

Good Luck!