Jesse Schupack, C’11, awarded Sewanee’s 40th Watson Fellowship


chupack plans to travel to South Korea, Germany, Ghana, India, Hungary, and Greece to meet a wide range of people who play board games, from casual hobbyists to professionals who travel international tournament circuits. Schupack is interested in the power of games to bridge social divides and unite those who play them.

Since 1985, when Sewanee was selected as one of the Watson institutions, the University has produced 40 fellowship recipients, including Allie O’Connell, C’10, who is now completing her fellowship year.

This year’s awardees exhibit a broad diversity of academic specialty, socio-economic background, and life experience. They’ll traverse 71 countries, exploring topics from sword dancing to pro-gaming, from gay marriage to voluntary poverty, from migratory fish to nomadic societies. As interesting as the projects are, “these awards are long-term investments in people, not research,” says Cleveland Johnson, Director of the Watson Fellowship Program and a former Watson Fellow.

“We look for persons likely to lead or innovate in the future and give them extraordinary independence to pursue their interests outside of traditional academic structures. Watson Fellows are passionate learners, creative thinkers, and motivated self-starters who are encouraged to dream big but demonstrate feasible strategies for achieving their fellowship goals. The Watson Fellowship affords an unparalleled opportunity for global experiential learning.”

Members of the Watson Committee at Sewanee include Stephen Miller, associate professor of music and the University’s liaison to the Watson Foundation; John Gatta, professor of English and Dean of the College; Martin Knoll, professor of geology; Deborah McGrath, associate professor of biology and environmental studies; Stephen Raulston, professor of Spanish; and Mae Wallace, professor of education and anthropology.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program was established in 1968 by the children of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of International Business Machines Corp., and his wife, Jeannette K. Watson, to honor their parents’ long-standing interest in education and world affairs. The Watson Foundation regards its investment in people as an effective long-term contribution to the global community.