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OU Graduate Honored With Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

Caleb Gayle




NORMAN –University of Oklahoma graduate Caleb Gayle of Tulsa has earned a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a graduate school fellowship for outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States. Gayle is the third Soros Fellow produced by OU in the past two years.

“Caleb Gayle was an outstanding graduate of the university," said OU President David L. Boren. "He made an impressive record at the university and continues his outstanding achievements after graduation. We are honored to count him as one of our own and the university is proud of his Soros Fellowship.”

Founded in 1997 by Hungarian immigrants Paul Soros and his wife Daisy, the fellowships focus on an applicant’s potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or their academic field. The award provides up to $90,000 in funding for each fellow’s graduate program of choice. This year marked the most competitive year in the fellowship’s history with 1,775 applicants and only 30 selected as fellows.

Gayle has worked with burgeoning, low-income female entrepreneurs in Mexico as part of Crea Comunidades de Emprendedores Sociales, a social enterprise that creates customized programs to empower women entrepreneurs from marginalized areas in Mexico.

He completed his graduate work at Oxford University and returned to Mexico, where he supported the elevation of Crea Comunidades to become a federal government program, Mujeres Moviendo México.

Gayle joined the George Kaiser Family Foundation in 2013, working to improve the livelihood outcomes of low-income families and children. His team’s work has been chronicled in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Education Week.

Managing editor of Crimson & Black: A Journal for Black Policy, his essays have been featured in The Huffington Post’s Black Voices series, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the Harvard Kennedy School Review.

“At a time when the national conversation seems to be on what immigrants are taking away, we are putting the spotlight on what immigrants from diverse backgrounds contribute to the United States,” said Craig Harwood, director of the fellowship program.

For his outstanding achievements, Gayle previously has been recognized as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Harry S. Truman Scholar and Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

Born in New York to Jamaican immigrants, Gayle and his family initially struggled to prosper after moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Through his personal experience and tenacious pursuit of the American Dream, Gayle developed an interest in non-profit work and government affairs. He has served on the boards of the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, the Tulsa Area Salvation Army and the MetCares Foundation.

Previous recipients of the Soros Fellowships for New Americans include U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Chief Scientist of Artificial Intelligence at GoogleCloud Fei-Fei Li, pharmaceutical CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, Lieutenant Governor of Washington Cyrus Habib, leading American Civil Liberties Union attorney Nusrat Choudhury, award-winning writer Kao Kalia Yang and nearly 600 other immigrant-American leaders.

At 30 years of age or younger, the members of the 2017 class of Soros Fellowships come from a wide range of socio-economic background. Either naturalized citizens, green card holders or the children of immigrants, their cultural backgrounds are similar to those of recent immigrants and refugees in the U.S. This year’s class of Soros Fellows include heritage from: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Guyana, India, Iran, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Suriname, Taiwan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

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