Rollins Named Top Producer of Fulbright Scholars and Students

February 14, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Rollins commencement
Photo by Scott Cook.

With our focus on global citizenship and responsible leadership, Rollins has once again secured a position as one of the top producers of Fulbright Scholars and Students among colleges and universities.

Rollins has once again been named a top producer of both Fulbright Scholars and Students by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the 2023-24 year. This marks the 11th time that the College has achieved this notable distinction, continuing a legacy of lifelong leadership and international service among graduates.

“Fulbright’s top-producing institutions represent the diversity of America’s higher-education community,” says Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “Dedicated administrators support students and scholars at these institutions to fulfill their potential and rise to address tomorrow’s global challenges. We congratulate them and all the Fulbrighters who are making an impact the world over.”

For more than 75 years, the Fulbright Program, which was created under the Truman administration in the wake of World War II, has stood as the U.S. government’s flagship educational exchange program, with more than 400,000 participants who have served in 160 countries across the globe. The prestigious program provides students, scholars, and professionals from all backgrounds the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to complex global challenges. Past scholars have gone on to become Nobel Prize winners, heads of state, authors, artists, and business leaders. Top-producing institutions are named annually in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Sarah Skala ’23, Socorro Torres Lopez ’23, Capri Gutierrez ’23, and Sarah Bennefield ’23.
Fulbright Students for 2023-24, from top left: Sarah Skala ’23, Socorro Torres Lopez ’23, Capri Gutierrez ’23, and Sarah Bennefield ’23.Photo by Scott Cook.

Rollins received its first Fulbright in 1951—just five years after the program’s inception. Since then, the College has produced nearly 100 Fulbright Students, with more than 65 of those named since 2006. In addition, this year Rollins has also been recognized as a top producer of faculty Fulbright Scholars. In the past 20 years, Rollins has produced 19 Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 32 awards since the 1960s. These numbers are a testament to Rollins’ emphasis on global citizenship as a tenet of its signature brand of liberal arts education.

The latest group of Tars to join Rollins’ storied history of Fulbright Students includes Sarah Bennefield ’23, Capri Gutiérrez ’23, Sarah Skala ’23, and Socorro Torres Lopez ’23. Gutierrez, one of 2023’s valedictorians, will continue research on the child victims of war in Uganda while Torres Lopez will study perceptions of Mexican emigration as part of a master’s program at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. Bennefield and Skala—also a 2023 valedictorian—will teach English in Bulgaria and Germany, respectively.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to work with such passionate and talented students,” shares Kim Dennis, art history professor and director of the Office of External Fellowships & Scholarships. “Each of them has truly made the most of their time at Rollins by curating a unique and multifaceted liberal arts experience, and I have no doubt that they are all going to make a positive impact on the world through their different career paths.”

Fulbright Scholars for 2023-24, from left: Jim Johnson, Susan Montgomery, and Don Davison.
Fulbright Scholars for 2023-24, from left: Jim Johnson, Susan Montgomery, and Don Davison.Photo by Scott Cook.

Rollins faculty to earn 2023-24 Fulbright Scholar awards include Crummer Graduate School of Business professor Jim Johnson, associate professor and instruction librarian Susan Montgomery, and political science professor Don Davison, who declined the award to serve instead as interim provost at Rollins. Johnson and Montgomery were both selected as Fulbright Scholars to teach and conduct research in Spain and Colombia, respectively, while Davison was awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies to the Swedish Institute for North American Studies at Uppsala University.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the United States Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the U.S. also provide direct and indirect support. To learn more about the Fulbright Program, visit

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