Our Programs



The next generation of philosophers, scientists, inventors, and professors; that’s who we support in the McElroy Trust Fellowship Program. 


Each year two recent graduates from northeast Iowa colleges are awarded $36,000 to pursue a Ph.D. In the first 35 years of the program, we’ve interviewed more than 200 candidates, and provided $1.25 million to 66 recipients.

The McElroy Trust Fellowship program, established in 1983, is designed to “encourage persons of accomplishment, intelligence, integrity, and leadership ability to pursue challenging academic careers.” Specifically, the Fellowship supports students who are pursuing a Ph.D.  

Again this year, the R.J. McElroy Trust will select two Fellowship recipients from among graduates of nine colleges in Northeast Iowa. Based upon satisfactory progress toward a Ph.D. degree, the stipend of $12,000 may be renewed for two additional years, for a total of $36,000. (See below for details about the process and criteria.)

The McElroy Fellowship program has operated for 35 years.

Over 35 years, 34 McElroy Fellowship recipients have completed their Ph.D.
Another 11 Fellowship recipients are still pursuing their goal.



Interested in being considered for the Fellowship?

Please contact the academic leaders at your college. Each institution can select only one candidate to compete for the McElroy Fellowship.

To be eligible, a candidate must:

  • Be a recent graduate or a graduating senior of a liberal arts program at Clarke College, Loras College, University of Dubuque, Luther College, Wartburg College, Coe College, Cornell College, Mount Mercy College, and the University of Northern Iowa.

  • Intend to immediately pursue a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D) at an accredited university of his or her choice.  Students pursuing M.D., J.D., Ed.D., Pharm.D., or other professional degrees are not eligible.

Selection criteria:  In the selection process, considerable weight will be given to a candidate’s academic record and to extra-curricular activities that give evidence of initiative, commitment and discipline. The objective of the Fellowships is to provide financial assistance to candidates with outstanding graduate school potential.

Selection Process:

  • Applications, instructions, and deadlines are available in the office of the President or Dean of each college/university listed above.

  • The deadline for submitting an application to college officials is determined by each institution and is usually in early winter.

  • The President or Dean reviews the applications and select one applicant to forward to the McElroy Trust Fellowship Selection Committee.

  • The selection process will include a personal interview with the McElroy Trust Fellowship Selection Committee in late spring in Waterloo.

  • Two of the final candidates will be selected as McElroy Fellows.