As the establishment of a new college in Cambridge was becoming a reality, Sir Winston Churchill met with American friends to ask them to create a way for young Americans to study at the college. Among those friends was Lewis W. Douglas, who had served as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain from 1947 to 1950. Carl Gilbert, chairman of the Gillette Company, became the first Chairman of the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States, which was established as a 501 (c) (3) US charity in 1959. He was followed by Douglas, and then by the financier John Loeb, Sr., whose family was the driving force behind the Foundation for many decades.
In its early years, the Foundation made small travel grants to Churchill Overseas Fellows, distinguished senior faculty who would spend one year at the College. Eight of the Churchill Fellows won the Nobel Prize (see list below), including James Watson, who used the Foundation’s grant to continue his legendary collaboration Francis Crick, researching the structure of DNA.
The first Churchill Scholarships, three in number, were awarded in 1963 and funded one year of study. Shortly thereafter the Scholarships were available either for one-year programs or for the three-year doctorate at Cambridge. In the early 1980’s the Foundation decided to support only one-year programs in order to increase the number of Churchill Scholars.
There have now been around 500 Churchill Scholars. This site has a database that lists all Churchill Scholars, their undergraduate institutions, and their departments at the University of Cambridge.
The Winston Churchill Foundation awards at least fourteen Scholarships. The one-year awards lead to the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or the Master of Advanced Study (MASt).
Felix Bloch (1952, Physics)
Arthur Kornberg (1959, Physiology or Medicine)
James D. Watson (1962, Physiology or Medicine)
George Wald (1967, Physiology or Medicine)
Hargabind Khorana (1968, Physiology or Medicine)
Murray Gell-Mann (1969, Physics)
Kenneth J. Arrow (1972, Economics)
Roald Hoffman (1981, Chemistry)