CSULB Center for First Amendment Studies Establishes New Fellowship For Grad Students

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The Center for First Amendment Studies at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) has announced the establishment of the Jack Williams Fellowship, a scholarship for graduate students in the university’s master’s program in communication studies.

Williams, the former chief operating officer and president of Royal Caribbean International, has made a multi-year commitment to support the center’s fellowship, which annually supports two fellows for the academic year.

Williams, a CSU graduate himself, noted, “I am extremely proud to be able to offer this fellowship program to qualifying graduate students at California State University, Long Beach because the pursuit of educational excellence especially as it relates to the freedom of speech, our most valued right in a free society, is indeed a pursuit we all must be willing to participate in and protect if we are to continue enjoying all the benefits provided by the First Amendment.”

The 2013-14 Williams Fellows are Nick Fox and Loretta Rowley.  The Williams Fellowship is providing funds to cover tuition, books, travel or other educational expenses.

“My fellowship with the Center for First Amendment Studies means a great deal to me both as a student and an instructor,” said Fox, who expects to complete his master’s degree this spring. “As a student, I plan on using this fellowship to sophisticate my understanding of the First Amendment’s social implications. As a communications instructor I plan on using my knowledge of the First Amendment to highlight the symbiotic relationship between speech and Democracy, and its pragmatic implications for every citizen.”

To be eligible for one of the two annual Williams Fellowships, candidates must be graduate students in good standing in the Communication Studies graduate program.  Additionally, they must have a demonstrated research interest in the First Amendment.

“I believe the Jack Williams Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to focus my graduate studies on the ways in which we frame discourse about social and political issues that are relevant to our First Amendment rights,” explained Rowley, who expects to complete her graduate degree next summer. “I look forward to learning more and empowering undergraduates to become informed agents of social change.”

There have been fellows back to 1988 when Director Craig Smith established the center on the campus. In the past, these fellows have been funded by various groups, including Newhouse Newspapers, George August and the Norris Foundation.  Smith welcomed the new support from Williams.

“This generous gift allows us to make fellowships available to our graduate students who are interested in doing research on such First Amendment issues as freedom of expression and religion,” said Craig Smith, director of the center. “With tuition rising substantially in the CSU system, it is wonderful that Jack Williams would step forward to help our students out.”

For more information about the CSULB Center for First Amendment Studies or the Williams Fellowship, contact Smith at 562/985-4313 or via e-mail at Craig.Smith@csulb.edu. Information is also available on the center’s website.

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