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Frequently Asked Questions

Picture of Roberts Gilbertson Fellowship members in Japan

About Robertson-Gilbertson Fellows

Q: What is the purpose of the Roberts-Gilbertson Fellowship Program?

To encourage a select group of especially capable SVSU undergraduate students to aspire to positions of responsibility and leadership, and to encourage them to achieve the very highest levels of accomplishment and distinction in their subsequent careers. 

Q: How does the program accomplish these goals?

  • Through the academic study of leadership issues in an international, historical, and contemporary context
  • Through interaction with campus and community leaders
  • Through collaborative service projects that strengthen leadership skills while giving back to the University, the community, and the region
  • Through co-curricular events that broaden and deepen Fellows’ understanding and appreciation of academic and civic culture
  • Through the exploration of diverse cultures and perspectives, both in local communities and through international travel
  • Through ongoing engagement with previous and future classes of Roberts-Gilbertson Fellows, and with SVSU

Q: Why “Roberts-Gilbertson Fellowship?”

Mrs. Donna Roberts, former Secretary and Assistant General Counsel for The Dow Chemical Company is the founding donor and personal inspiration of the Roberts Fellowship. Former SVSU President Eric R. Gilbertson’s vision and leadership shaped the Roberts Fellowship from its inception in 1999. To honor the leadership and service of Dr. and Mrs. Gilbertson to SVSU and the region, in 2021 Dr. E. Malcolm Field established an endowment to inspire and assist students who demonstrate excellence and outstanding potential for leadership. Students are selected as Gilbertson Fellows and Roberts Fellows according to the same criteria and participate in a joint program now known as the Roberts-Gilbertson Fellowship.

Q: What are you looking for in a Fellowship candidate?

  • Academic Distinction
  • Commitment to service
  • An aspiration to succeed, and to lead others to success
  • Willingness to work both independently and collaboratively
  • Diverse perspectives and life experiences
  • Openness to diverse cultures and perspectives
  • Commitment to excellence
  • Character
  • Enthusiasm

Q: How are Fellows assessed during the program?

  • Engagement and participation in seminars, co-curricular events, and service projects
  • Initiative in leading and following through on Fellowship activities
  • Reflective journals

Q: What are other expectations of the Roberts-Gilbertson Fellows?

Roberts-Gilbertson Fellows are often called upon to be the “face” of the University for visiting dignitaries and other guests, and to represent the university during international travel. They play an important role in recruiting and advising applicants to the program. Program alumni are encouraged to remain involved in the program and to provide guidance and mentorship to members of the current class and other alumni.

Q: What are Roberts-Gilbertson Fellowship alumni doing now?

  • Excelling in prestigious graduate programs
  • Teaching in public schools; leading academic departments; conducting education research
  • Teaching and researching in universities; advancing scholarship in their fields
  • Managing international NGOs
  • Founding and managing non-profit organizations
  • Working for local and international corporations
  • Working as entrepreneurs
  • Monitoring elections in the developing world through the Carter Center
  • Protecting Presidential candidates through the Secret Service and the FBI
  • Pastoring churches
  • Running for political office; staffing for senators, former Presidents, and Supreme Court Justices