Drew Theological School Student Earns 2021 Ford Foundation Fellowship

PhD candidate and adjunct teacher Desmond Coleman earns the national award

June 2021 – Drew Theological School doctoral candidate Desmond Coleman is one of only 38 scholars awarded the national 2021 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.

The program, which is administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, seeks to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of college and university faculties to maximize the educational benefits of diversity and to increase the number of professors who will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Coleman’s dissertation, entitled “Alchemy, Blackness, Anarchy,” explores the historical and theoretical connections between alchemy, blackness as a concept and racial reality and anarchism. 

"In terms of vision, discipline and gifts, no one could be more deserving of such an honor and the support it provides."

“What a delight it is to celebrate Desmond Coleman’s reception of the Ford Foundation Fellowship,” said Catherine Keller, George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology in Drew’s Graduate Division of Religion and Coleman’s advisor and mentor at Drew. “In terms of vision, discipline, and gifts, no one could be more deserving of such an honor and the support it provides. Now Desmond will be able to devote himself fully to the writing of his dissertation, which is a deep dive into a rarely recognized source of the ontology and history of racialized blackness. It promises to make a crucial transdisciplinary contribution to critical race studies.”

In addition to earning a PhD in philosophical and theological studies in religion at Drew, Coleman was an adjunct teacher at the Theological School and Drew’s College of Liberal Arts, teaching Bible and Its Interpreters and Introduction to Pan-African Studies, respectively.

This is the second national award earned by a Drew Theological School student in as many years. Nikki Hoskins T’21 earned the Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship in 2020.


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