Ruth Y. Kirby Awards

Ruth Y. Kirby taught foreign languages for many years in the Portage and Kalamazoo public schools before joining the faculty of Western Michigan University in 1945. For the 23 years of teaching that followed, Professor Kirby served as an inspiration to her classes and colleagues alike. Her mastery of languages was second only to her unwavering dedication to her students. Because of her very generous bequest in 1990, Ruth Kirby’s devotion to WMU students continues, supporting the study of Spanish on campus and abroad.


There are two types of awards:

  • Ruth Y. Kirby Awards for Travel and Study Abroad. Six awards of $1000 each will be granted to undergraduate students of Spanish who participate in a study abroad program in a Spanish-speaking country. Awards may be used for summer programs, one-semester programs or one-year programs.
  • Ruth Y. Kirby Scholarship Awards. Six awards of $1000 each will be granted to undergraduate students of Spanish for study either on campus or abroad.


You must:

  • Be currently enrolled in WMU and have a declared major in Spanish.
  • Have completed at WMU at least one 3000-level course in Spanish prior to the semester of application and must complete at least two additional 3000-level courses in Spanish at WMU by the end of the semester of application.
  • Have a minimum 3.00 GPA overall and a 3.25 GPA in Spanish.
  • Enroll in a study abroad program where credits are transferable to WMU. The program must be approved by the Spanish faculty advisor for study abroad. You are encouraged to select a program which will allow you to live with a family.
  • If you receive an award, complete at least one 5000-level Spanish course at WMU after returning from study abroad.

Selection criteria

  • Demonstrated academic achievement in Spanish.
  • Demonstrated overall academic achievement.
  • An essay of 300 words detailing the applicant’s interests and goals as they relate to the study and use of Spanish.
  • An interview with Spanish faculty. Interviews are limited to finalists only.

Application and deadline

Fill out the scholarship application via ScholarshipUniverse by the deadline.