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Nov. 20 - Davis Foundations Grant

Contact: Jonathan Potts

Carnegie Mellon Humanities Scholars Program Receives
Endowment From Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

PITTSBURGH—The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have awarded a $200,000 grant to Carnegie Mellon University to create an endowment for the university's Humanities Scholars Program.    

The grant will initially be used to help support faculty in the university's four humanities departments — English, modern languages, history and philosophy — and develop new courses for the Humanities Scholars Program. The money will also be used to bring in exceptional humanists early in their careers to teach in the program as fellows in the university's Humanities Center.    

The Humanities Scholars Program is a rigorous, four-year interdisciplinary program open by invitation to applicants to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS) at Carnegie Mellon. Besides taking seminars together throughout their undergraduate careers, the students have the option to live in the same dormitory cluster their first year in order to create a vibrant community of scholars. The program was launched in 2003.

"I'm delighted that we've received this kind of support so early in the Humanities Scholars Program's history," said Tim Haggerty, director of the program. "We have a very distinguished faculty in H&SS who have really helped redefine their respective fields and who have very creative ideas about teaching in the humanities. This grant will allow a number of them each year to create innovative new courses for our humanities students. It's a wonderful vote of confidence in the whole Humanities Initiative."    

The Humanities Center is a collaboration of faculty members from all the humanities departments who aim to strengthen research and teaching in the humanities; foster collaborations among and between humanities faculty and faculty in other disciplines; and nurture a greater role for the humanities in an increasingly technological and global society.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations award will count toward the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant that the Humanities Center received in 2005. Under the terms of the grant, the Humanities Center will receive $500,000 from the NEH contingent on the center raising an additional $1.5 million by 2008.        

The Humanities Scholars Program and the Humanities Center are part of the university's Humanities Initiative, an effort to strengthen and broaden the humanities at Carnegie Mellon. The initiative also includes the Center for the Arts in Society, which is a joint effort between H&SS and the College of Fine Arts.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Fla., are named for the late president of Alcoa. Under Davis' leadership as president, and later as chairman of the board for 19 years, Alcoa became one of the country's most successful corporations. The foundations provide support for private higher education, as well as secondary education, theological education, public television and health care initiatives.