The University of Chicago News Office
Dec. 14, 2006 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

University of Chicago alumnus named George J. Mitchell Scholar

Franklin McMillan, a 2005 University of Chicago graduate of the College, has been named a 2007-2008 George J. Mitchell Scholar by the US-Ireland Alliance. McMillan is the first Chicago alumnus to receive the scholarship.

Awarded annually to 12 Americans under the age of 30 who have exhibited exemplary academic achievements and a commitment to leadership and community service, Mitchell Scholarships fund one year of post-graduate study in Ireland. The US-Ireland Alliance, founded in 1998 through an endowment from the Government of Ireland, funds the scholarships to create stronger future relations between the United States and Ireland by linking future American leaders to Ireland.

McMillan will begin his year of study in the fall of 2007 and is waiting for word of his acceptance at Queens University in Belfast, where he hopes to receive the degree of Master of the Arts in Theory, Culture and Identity.

“Receiving this scholarship has been extremely humbling,” McMillan said. “It reminds me more than anything how much I owe to my friends, family, students and teachers for helping to open these doors.”

At Chicago, McMillan served as a Student Marshall, the highest academic honor at the College, and was one of three student speakers at commencement. He also received the Morton-Murphy Award, given by the University to students who demonstrate outstanding contributions to the community. During his first year in the College, McMillan was a co-founder of the College’s ACLU chapter. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy with special honors.

McMillan spent the summer of 2006 working as a research assistant in Rwanda, under Canadian political scientist Susan Thompson, who was conducting research on post-genocide policies in the country. While there, McMillan “coordinated funding and support for the founding of an ethically integrated Rwandan association, encouraging job training and economic development,” he said.

For the past two years, McMillan has taught fourth and fifth grade in the Bronx, New York through Teach for America. Additionally, he has taught Shakespeare outside of school hours and helped create a hip-hop dance team at the school. McMillan’s dedication to his students has paid off. At the end of his first year teaching, they have improved greatly in both reading and math, he said.

“While teaching has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life, my students continually inspire me,” he said. “Their intelligence and creativity in the face of overwhelming odds reminds me why we can never stop fighting for educational equity.”

Mitchell Scholarships are named for Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sen. George J. Mitchell, Chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland two-time United States Senator in Maine from 1982 to 1994 and Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995. Former President Bill Clinton also offered Mitchell a seat on the United States Supreme Court, a position Mitchell declined.

During the 1990s, Mitchell has served as a leader in the Northern Ireland peace process. The same year the Mitchell Scholarships were established, Mitchell celebrated success when Irish voters in both Northern and Southern Ireland supported the Belfast Peace Agreement. His work on the agreement was in part what led to his nomination for a Nobel Peace Price.
Last modified at 08:08 AM CST on Friday, December 15, 2006.

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