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Friday, November 30, 2012

Alumnus to Head U.S. Fulbright Association

Stephen ReillySALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University alumnus Stephen Reilly ’96 didn’t need a new job.

The Global Experiences firm he started in 2002 is doing quite well, having grown to some 27 employees who help place several hundred students in internships and jobs with organizations abroad annually.

But an opportunity to assist the alumni arm of the Fulbright international exchange program, and to help change more lives, was too good to resist.

Reilly recently was named executive director of the U.S. Fulbright Association, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit with over 6,000 alumni members including himself.

“This just feeds my soul,” said Reilly, explaining that being a Fulbright scholar in Sweden in 1998-99 was one of the greatest experiences of his life.

“Steve was selected from a very strong field of 145 applicants,” said Patricia Krebs, association president. “[He] brings a strong background to the role ... and a passion for international exchanges. He has been very active in the Fulbright Association, serving on the board of the National Capital Area Chapter since 2009.”

Reilly takes over at a time of change for the 35-year-old organization. He hopes to use his people skills, and interests in areas including technology and social networking, to help it grow.

“Fulbrighters have gone on to great success in health care, media, technology, politics and other areas,” Reilly said. “But the one thing that can be improved is an interconnectivity to accelerate the missions of their organizations.” He wants to engage more of the 110,000 past U.S. participants, especially fellow young alumni who have new entrepreneurial ideas.

Since graduating from SU with a 4.0 GPA and a B.A. in communication arts, Reilly has lived on four continents and visited 40 states and 51 countries. His passion for traveling really started when he passed up Georgetown Law School for a one-way ticket to teach English in Hong Kong.

“A lot of us finish school and start living someone else’s dream, so I’m happy I got on that plane,” he said. He later earned a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies, and met his future wife, Emily, while on his Fulbright at Uppsala University. 

Reilly credits SU and the Fulton School of Liberal Arts for offering a diverse academic curriculum that gave him a rich background.

“My coursework across many areas of interest helped make me a jack of all trades,” he said. “Now I see there is a lot of opportunity for people like that. This job is the culmination. I’m able to talk to anybody about anything. Though I didn’t know what to do with my degree at first, I have realized that it taught me how to learn.”

While Reilly earned his Fulbright after his time at SU, the campus has a long history of faculty recipients. Charles Overholt recently was first current student winner.

Reilly hopes more alumni and students will apply. This desire to raise awareness is among the reasons he dusted off his resume and applied for his new position.

“People from the State Department, Harvard and MIT wanted this job, and they chose a kid from Salisbury,” he said. “It’s unique and wonderful that a Salisbury grad has taken this role.”

Reilly begins his duties begin in January 2013. 

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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