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Western Illinois University Named Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Scholars

February 11, 2019

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University has been named among U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Scholars. Each year, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the lists annually. WIU was also named a top producer in 2013-2014, with three.

WIU, with three for 2018-2019, ranks at the top of the U.S. master's-granting institutions list, and is the only Illinois master's-granting institution with three or more Fulbright Scholars. Since 2001, more than 25 WIU faculty, staff and students have received Fulbright scholarships and grants. Western's first Fulbright Scholar was Carol Lynn Hagaman in 1963.

Associate Professor of English Rebekah Buchanan was named a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar, and is currently in Norway as part of the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Roving Scholars program, which brings American teachers to the country to spend a year traveling to give presentations, seminars and lectures for teachers and students and to students in teacher training programs. Professor of Biological Sciences Shawn Meagher was also named a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar. He is currently teaching biology courses at Adam Mickiewicz University (AMU) in Poznan, Poland to both Polish students and exchange students from throughout Europe who are studying in Poland.

In addition to the faculty Fulbright Scholar recipients for 2018-2019, WIU also had one student chosen for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and a faculty member selected for the Teaching Specialist Grant Program. College Student Personnel graduate student Eden Driscoll, of Caledonia, MI, is currently teaching English in South Korea. WIU Associate Professor of Music Education Richard Cangro recently returned from visiting and teaching in Pakistan as part of his 2018 Fulbright Teaching Specialist grant award. This was Cangro's second Fulbright award. He worked with teachers and students at the National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi and the Beaconhouse National University in Lahore for two weeks.

"Throughout Western's distinguished history, our faculty, staff and students have participated in and produced outstanding scholarly work," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "I congratulate our current, as well as our past, Fulbright Scholars, and thank them for representing Western's core values of academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility."

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 participants, chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to find solutions to shared international concerns. Over 800 U.S. college and university faculty and administrators, professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers and independent scholars are awarded Fulbright grants to teach and/or conduct research annually. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program operates in over 125 countries throughout the world.  

"We thank the colleges and universities across the United States that we are recognizing as Fulbright top producing institutions for their role in increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries," said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. "We are proud of all the Fulbright students and scholars from these institutions who represent America abroad, increasing and sharing their skills and knowledge on a global stage."
The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. students and teachers to conduct research and teach overseas. In addition, some 4,000 foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study, lecture, conduct research and teach foreign languages.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

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