National Institute on Aging

Columbia University Seeking to Remove “Caucasian Only” Clause From a Fellowship

columbiaColumbia University is asking a Manhattan judge to release it from a requirement in a donor’s will to restrict the awarding of a fellowship to members of “the Caucasian race.”

Lydia C. Chamberlain, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, who lived in the Hotel Woodward in downtown Manhattan, donated $500,000 in 1920 to create the Lydia C. Roberts Graduate and Traveling Fellowships. Under the terms of the will, recipients must be from Iowa and must be “of the Caucasian race.” Students applying for the fellowships must agree to return to Iowa for two years after completing their education and students studying law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary surgery or theology are not eligible.

The fellowship has not been awarded since 1997.


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