UofL alumnus Jonathan Perez has earned a Fulbright award, bringing the number of UofL scholars who earned the scholarship this year to 15, a new one-year record for the university.
“This is a fantastic milestone for our campus community,” said UofL Acting President Neville Pinto. “It’s gratifying to know that we are giving our students and alumni the tools they need to win these prestigious international scholarships.”
Since 2003, UofL has had 104 Fulbrights, more than all other Kentucky public colleges combined. The 15-scholars-in-one-year landmark is especially significant because it breaks the 14-scholars-in-one-year threshold and means that the university could once again be named a top Fulbright-producing institution.
Perez graduated from the College of Education and Human Development in May with a master’s degree in teaching. As a Fulbright, he will teach English in Brazil starting in February 2017. He is from Richmond, Virginia, earned his undergraduate degree in 2014 from University of Richmond, and is currently a teacher for Jefferson County Public Schools’ South Park Teenage Parent Program, Fairdale. He chose the CEHD for his graduate degree when he moved to Louisville as part of Teach Kentucky.
Patricia Condon, who heads the national and international scholarship program at UofL, said, “I wish we could clone Jonathan. He is innovative, engaging and inspiring and will be a wonderful teacher and ambassador. He ideally represents how diverse America is today.”
Guatemalan-born Perez said the scholarship will give him an opportunity to explore his Hispanic heritage.
“The Fulbright grant will expose me to educational opportunities that will strengthen my cultural connection and provide an enhanced view of the world in which I want to make a difference,” he said.
Condon said there were originally 30 Fulbright candidates for 2016-2017 and Perez’s selection brings the university’s success rate to 50 percent.
“This accomplishment is truly remarkable and testifies to just how much heart and soul our faculty and staff put into helping students reach their potential,” Condon said.
A testimony to that “heart and soul” was evident during a meeting of university deans on Sept. 6. When Acting Provost Dale Billingsley announced during that meeting that UofL had another Fulbright, the group broke into a spontaneous, hearty round of applause.