The John E. Rovensky Fellowships in U.S. Business or Economic History



The University of Illinois Foundation announces the 2016-2017 John Rovensky Fellowships.  Two $8,000 fellowships will be awarded for doctoral students writing their dissertations in U.S. business or economic history.  The fellowships are available largely through the generosity of the late John E. Rovensky and are administered by the University of Illinois Foundation.  Awardees may use the fellowship concurrently with other funding sources, including grants or teaching assignments.



Applicants must be working toward a Ph.D. degree with U.S. business or economic history as the area of major interest. Fellowship recipients must be enrolled in a doctoral program at an accredited college or university in the United States. Preference will be given to applicants who are preparing for a career in teaching and research and who will have completed all graduate course work prior to the fall of 2016. Awards are non-renewable, but may be taken along with other fellowships from other sources.


Application Process


The Rovensky Fellowship Selection Committee is composed of seven scholars in American economic and business history:


Marcelo Bucheli (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Chair

Christopher McKenna (Oxford University)

John Parman (William & Mary)

Richard Sicotte (University of Vermont)

Steven Usselman (Georgia Tech)

Pamela Walker Laird (Colorado Denver)


Applicants are judged on the basis of the following criteria:

    Academic ability and interest in business and/or economic history, documented in one letter of recommendation

    Demonstrated ability in research and writing

    Potential for career in teaching and academic research, supported in letter of recommendation

    Quality of dissertation proposal

Application forms may be found on the Web at


About John E. Rovensky


John E. Rovensky grew up in Pittsburgh in a family of modest circumstances, entered the banking profession, and moved to New York City. There he became the youngest vice president of the National Bank of Commerce, at the time the second largest bank in New York City. He later served with the Bank of America and National City Bank of New York. At the close of a very successful banking career, Mr. Rovensky became chairman of the executive committee of American Car and Foundry Company (later ACF Industries) and subsequently chairman of the board. Retiring from active business interests in 1954, he still retained a lively interest in economics, public affairs, and the academic profession. He died in 1970.


The fellowships arise from a substantial gift, which Mr. Rovensky made to the Lincoln Educational Foundation in 1961 thanks to the encouragement of Donald L. Kemmerer, his long-time friend, Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois, and president of the Lincoln Educational Foundation. The Lincoln Educational Foundation was founded in 1951 by Mr. Alexander Whiteford, an executive of Union Carbide, to promote recognition of the role of private business and entrepreneurship in America's growth and development.


When the Lincoln Educational Foundation was liquidated in 1984, Professor Kemmerer ensured that the remaining funds were transferred to the University of Illinois where he had been a faculty member since 1937, becoming Professor Emeritus in 1973. He died in 1993. The monies and the Fellowship program are now administered by the University of Illinois Foundation.


Inquiries may be directed to:

Marcelo Bucheli

Department of Business Administration

350 Wohlers

1206 S. 6th Street

Champaign, IL 61820, USA



Completed applications for the fellowship must be received no later than Friday, February 19, 2016.

Winners will be announced at the Business History Conference banquet, Embassy Suites Hotel, Portland, Oregon, April 2, 2016.

All materials, including the letter of recommendation, should be sent as e-mail file attachments (PDF formats) to