The Thomas J. Watson Foundation in 1968 inaugurated the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program to enable college graduates of exceptional promise to engage in a year of independent study and travel abroad following graduation. Students have an opportunity for a focused and disciplined Wanderjahr of their own devising—time in which to explore with thoroughness a particular interest, test their aspirations and abilities, view their lives and American society in greater perspective and, concomitantly, to develop a more informed sense of international concern.

Administered in cooperation with 41 outstanding private colleges and universities throughout the United States, the Watson Fellowship provides a grant of $40,000 to each recipient.

General Eligibility

  • Class year: Graduating seniors 

Other eligibility guidelines:

  • Individuals who demonstrate integrity, strong ethical character, intelligence, the capacity for vision and leadership, and potential for humane and effective participation in the world community. A candidate's academic record, while not of primary importance, is considered together with those extracurricular activities which reflect both initiative and a commitment to the candidate's particular area of interest.

Application Process

Davidson College may nominate up to four candidates each year. To be considered for nomination, graduating seniors must submit a campus application to Davidson's nominating committee. Some candidates will be invited to interview with the committee.

The campus nomination application process and resources are in the Watson Fellowships Toolkit article (Handshake login required). 

Learn More

For more information, contact the Office of Fellowships at or schedule an Office of Fellowships advising appointment with Gaylena Merritt, Director of Fellowships, through Handshake (login required).

Davidson Watson Fellows

2022 - Luis Cordero, Ellie Lipp, ChiChi Odo

2021 - Langston Stephens

2020 - Maddie Hunter, Roy Toston

2019 - Natalie Connell, Ky Roland

2018 - Sierra Ponthier

2017 - Kate Joss, Rachel McKay

2016 - Xzavier Killings, Alec Rotunda

2015 - Yeeva Cheng

2014 - Shneeka Center

2012 - Audrey Gyurgyik, Alexis Valauri-Orton

2011 - Sara Bates, Annie Temmink

2010 - Blake Evitt

2009 - Laura Bergner

2007 - Omer Hasmi, Amy Reid

2006 - Chris Clunie

2005 - Benjamin Nelson

2004 - Gray Lyons

2003 - Kristine Grayson, William Neville

2002 - Danielle Dillard, Amber Hartman, Jason Hollis, Adam Norris 

2001 - Ben Carter

2000 - Michael Griffin

1999 - Emily Setina

1998 - Kenneth Howard, Katherine Palmer

1997 - Patrick Montoya

1996 - Amanda R. Curtis, Jennifer A. Hankins

1995 - Rachel C. Newcomb

1994 - David Tweedie

1993 - Sara E. Carlson Tavernise, Reid R. French, Heather L. Tarpley

1992 - Thomas K. Johnson, John C. Patton

1991 - Margaret Hoyle, Douglas H. Jobe

1990 - Jonathan P. Darsey, Katherine A. MacDonald

1989 - Milbrey Raney

1988 - David Ethridge, Gaulden Herrero  

1987 - Laeta Kalogridis

1986 - Anne Lambert, Sayres Rudy

1985 - Beth Maczka, Virginia Richards

1984 - Malcolm Campbell, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds

1983 - LeRoy Overby

1982 - William Bargmann, Elizabeth Turnbull

1981 - Hugh Crenshaw

1980 - Carol Robinson

1979 - David Barnard, Laurie Lackey

1978 - John Craig, Jeffrey Metzel

1977 - Crawford Crenshaw

1976 - Andrew Lamas, John Taylor, Daniel Thorp

1975 - John Bevan, Thomas Nicoll

1974 - Peter Celentano, Ronald Gibson, Roger Manley

1973 - Stephen Baragona, James Lehman

1972 - Robert Allen, George Draughon, Stephen Salyer, Lester Strong

1971 - Royal McGraw, TJ Trussell

1970 - Gary Henschen, Benjamin Moore

1969 - Bill Anderson, Thomas Baker