History of the Yates Fellowship Program

Dr. Albert C. Yates.

Dr. Albert C. Yates. Image courtesy of University Digital Photograph Collection, Colorado State University.

The Albert C. Yates Fellowship Program began in 1966 as the Graduate Intern Program of the UC Institute for Research and Training in Higher Education. This program’s mission was to identify, admit, support and mentor promising individuals of African-American and Appalachian heritage in UC graduate programs. In 1978, the program became part of the Division of Graduate Studies and Research and was renamed the Graduate Minority Fellows and Scholars Program. The program expanded in the following year to include students from all underrepresented minorities. In 1995, the program was renamed to honor Dr. Albert C. Yates, the first African-American to serve as vice president and university dean for Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Cincinnati.

Albert C. Yates

A Memphis native, Dr. Yates emerged from the challenges of an upbringing in the segregated South as a noted academic leader. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he earned an undergraduate degree from Memphis State University and a doctorate in chemical physics from Indiana University. After teaching at Indiana, he arrived at the University of Cincinnati as associate graduate dean in 1974. Dr. Yates served as the vice president and university dean for Graduate Studies and Research from 1976 to 1980. He then served as provost for Washington State University in Pullman. In 1990, Dr. Yates became the president of Colorado State University, a position he held until his retirement from academia in 2003. Today, the Yates Fellowship at UC testifies to his decades of higher education leadership and inspiring example of struggle and achievement. 

Legacy of Excellence

Each year, UC graduate programs nominate incoming students for the Yates Fellowship Program. In 2016, the Graduate School expanded the program to support 25 incoming master’s and doctoral students. New and continuing award winners receive a stipend and a full tuition scholarship. Additionally, each student is paired with a faculty member from his/her program, who acts as a guide to the program and university. Former award recipients—such as LaTrice Montgomery, Jay Kennedy (whose dissertation research on small business employee theft was featured in national news outlets) and Ciera Graham—exemplify the program’s vision of academic excellence.