Florida Southern Has Long, Successful History with Fulbright Program

May 12, 2022

by Ray Beasock
Senior Writer

Florida Southern College continues to earn acclaim from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), with five current students and alumni earning Fulbright Scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year.

“It is a tremendous honor for Florida Southern College to achieve distinction as a top producer of students being selected for Fulbright awards,” said Dr. Anne B. Kerr, president of Florida Southern College. “FSC has world-class talent among our student body, with students who have stellar abilities and educational experiences that will support their aspirations to make a positive and consequential impact on society. The Fulbright experiences are transformational for the participants and provide a profound global perspective in their respective areas of study. Our FSC learning community is also enriched as they return to share all they have learned, as well as impart this knowledge in their future professions and communities.”

The Fulbright Program was established over 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

That talent showed itself again as the school produced five more Fulbright award winners for 2022-23 in Austin Crotteau ’18 (Norway), Catherine Stogner ’21 (Montenegro), Morgan McDermott ’22 (Thailand), Lexi Potter ’22 (Greece) and Grace Sill ’22 (Taiwan), and Zoe Perkins '22 (Latvia).

With the recently announced winners, Florida Southern has now produced a total of 18 Fulbright grantees since 1949, including both students and professors. In 2021-22 three students/alumni were selected along with one professor. Anya Larson ’21 (Canary Islands), Cesar Maldonado ‘21 (Taiwan) and Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies Dr. Beth Gibbs (Spain) all participated in the program.

The first Florida Southern student to participate in the Fulbright Program was Sonya Mitchell in 1949, studying political science in France. Since then, including the 2022-23 grantees, 18 total graduating seniors and alumni have taken part in the program, serving as cultural ambassadors in France, Ghana, Greece, Mexico, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Taiwan, and Thailand. FSC has been included among U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright U.S. Students three times in the past four years: in 2018, when four of FSC’s applicants were selected, in 2019, when three new grantees were named and a 2018 participant was renewed for an additional year, and most recently in 2021.

Along with Dr. Gibbs, Florida Southern has also had three other professors participate in the Fulbright Scholar Program. John Owen (1958-59) taught Sociology at the University of Dacca in Pakistan, John Griffis (1996-97) taught Agriculture to students at Africa University in Zimbabwe and Carmen Gauthier (2016-17) taught Chemistry at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

Florida Southern has also hosted a Visiting Fulbright Scholar when the University of Freiburg’s Horst Buszello taught History on campus in 1980-81. 

Here is the historical list of Florida Southern College students who were named Fulbright Grantees:

  • 2022: Austin Crotteau, Morgan McDermott, Zoe Perkins, Lexi Potter, Grace Sill, Catherine Stogner.
  • 2021: Anya Larson, Cesar Maldonado.
  • 2019: Abby Eskridge, Olivia Panda, Kate Vita.
  • 2018: Natalie Aleman, Elizabeth Barnes, Leyna Stemle, Kylie Torres.
  • 2017: Zoe Trout.
  • 1964: Amelia Johannessen.
  • 1949: Sonya Mitchell.