The Melsheimer Fellowship
Experiential learning at its most powerful is more than just time spent out of the classroom. It provides students with a vital connection between ideas and the lives affected by them. Thanks to a generous gift from Thomas and Michelle Melsheimer of Dallas, Texas, the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights at the Keough School of Global Affairs is poised to offer that connection to generations of Notre Dame students.
With the new gift, the Klau Institute has created the Melsheimer Fellows Initiative. This experiential learning fellowship will provide support for students pursuing internships, service-learning, and educational encounters with underprivileged and underrepresented communities in the United States and around the globe.
"We hope to assist in creating the kind of moral leaders Fr. Hesburgh envisioned as being critical to a just, peaceful, and prosperous society.”
Supporting the Notre Dame mission
Thomas Melsheimer sees the gift as uniquely tied to Notre Dame’s mission. “There is a continuing imperative for Notre Dame to be at the forefront of an issue that is a cornerstone of a just society—the advancement of civil and human rights at home and abroad,” he says. “We wanted to advance this cause by helping provide what we hope will be perspective-altering experiential learning opportunities for Notre Dame students in a broad array of contexts. In so doing, we hope to assist in creating the kind of moral leaders Fr. Hesburgh envisioned as being critical to a just, peaceful, and prosperous society.”
With over 150 student affiliates from every school and college at the university and a newly launched minor in civil and human rights, the Klau Institute aspires to bring an awareness of civil and human rights to each student at Notre Dame. Director Jennifer Mason McAward acknowledges the special place Melsheimer Fellows will have in the institute’s activities. “The Klau Institute is incredibly grateful to the Melsheimers,” she says. “Their generosity will impact generations of Notre Dame students, helping to form future leaders who will prioritize civil and human rights.”
Inaugural Melsheimer Fellow
Rising senior Abigail Lamm has been named the inaugural Melsheimer Fellow. A supplementary major in global affairs at the Keough School, Lamm also serves as research assistant to professor Zoltán Búzás in his International Race and Rights Lab.
During the summer of 2023 she will participate in the Institute of World Politics’ internship program in Washington, DC., where she will assist with civil and human rights-related research.