The John E. Rovensky
for 2014-2015

Applicants are sought for two $10,000 fellowships for doctoral thesis research in U.S. Business or Economic History. These fellowships are available largely through the generosity of the late John E. Rovensky.

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 Whitford, 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.


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 2014. Awards are non-renewable and may not be taken simultaneously with an Economic History Association graduate dissertation fellowship.

Application Process

The Rovensky Fellowship Selection Committee is composed of seven scholars in American economic and business history:
William J. Hausman (William & Mary), Chair
Steven Usselman (Georgia Tech)
Pamela Walker Laird (Colorado-Denver)
Margaret Levenstein (University of Michigan)
Richard Sicotte (University of Vermont)
Christopher McKenna (Oxford University)
Marcelo Bucheli (University of Illinois)
Applicants are judged on the basis of the following criteria:
  • Academic ability and interest in business and/or economic history, documented in three letters of recommendation
  • Demonstrated ability in research and writing
  • Potential for career in teaching and academic research, supported in letters of recommendation
  • Quality of dissertation proposal
Application forms may be found on the Web at

Inquiries may be directed to:
William J. Hausman
Department of Economics, Box 8795
College of William & Mary
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
Completed applications for the fellowship must be received no later than Monday, February 10, 2014.
All materials, including letters, should be sent as e-mail file attachments (Word or pdf formats) to