Bonderman Travel Fellowship

The Bonderman Travel Fellowship

We are pleased to announce that thanks to David Bonderman and a $10 million endowment, the University of Washington Bonderman Fellowship will expand its impact for years to come.

For more than twenty years UW alumnus David Bonderman has annually supported UW students via travel fellowships that ask them explore, be open to the unexpected, and come to know the world in new and unexpected ways. The Bonderman Fellowship will continue to promote transformation via wandering and wondering for eight months of solo travel to two regions of the world, expanding fellows’ understanding of themselves and the complex world we live in.

This gift will begin to impact current UW students in 2017 – allowing us to expand the number of fellowships offered and the increase the level of support each fellow receives – and ensures that this leading edge student experience will continue in perpetuity.


Where would you go if you had eight months to travel solo? Which two continents and six countries would you visit? How would you get there? Where would you stay? What experiences would you seek out? How would you be transformed?

Each year a handful of lucky University of Washington students get to make those decisions as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Find out where 2016 Bonderman Fellows are going and why.

The Bonderman Travel Fellowship offers University of Washington graduate, professional, and select undergraduate students an opportunity to engage in independent exploration and travel abroad.

Through the Honors Program and the Graduate School Bonderman Fellowships enable students to undertake independent international travel to explore, be open to the unexpected, and come to know the world in new ways. Fellows may not participate in a program or organization, engage in formal study at a foreign university, conduct research or other academic projects, or travel with an organized group.  Bonderman Fellowships are intended to introduce students to cultures, peoples, and areas of the world with which they are not familiar.

The Bonderman Travel Fellowship program was created in 1995 through a gift from David Bonderman, who earned his undergraduate degree in Russian from the University of Washington in 1963. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he received a Sheldon Fellowship that allowed him to travel internationally, an experience that had a profound impact on his life. Now a successful investment adviser, Mr. Bonderman provides opportunities to current UW students for similarly transformative travel experiences through this program.

We are pleased to share news of another fellowship honoring the interests and work of Mr. Bonderman, started by his daughter at her alma mater, the University of Michigan. Learn more about UM’s program and first group of fellows, selected in 2014, here.

About the slideshow

In this slideshow, created in 2010 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Bonderman Travel Fellowship, Bonderman Fellows share their worldwide travels via their own words and photos. Featuring Marleyse Borchard, Gerick Bergsma, Adamn Grupp, Brianna Craft, Rocio Mendoza, and Spencer James, it illustrates the vast diversity of the Fellows’ experiences and how it continues to impact their lives.