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March 20, 2012

Anthony Grafton kicks off inaugural symposium series

$1 million gift creates Ferrari Humanities Symposia

Anthony Grafton

Ferrari Humanities SymposiaThe inaugural Ferrari Humanities Symposia begins with a visit and public talk by Anthony Grafton, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University.

Grafton will give a keynote lecture, open to the public, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. The talk, titled “Maps of Time: Science, Scholarship, and History in Early Modern Europe,” coincides with a new course open to University undergraduates, The Art and Science of Time, that will be taught by nine faculty members from six academic departments, including art, physics, and English.

Trustee Bernard Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD) and his wife, Linda Gaddis Ferrari, have made a $1 million gift to Arts, Sciences, and Engineering to endow the yearly humanities symposium and related curricula. Its purpose is to explore collaborations between the arts and sciences. The gift also supports the $1.2 billion Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.

“Through Bernie and Linda’s generosity, the Renaissance and the intellectual and artistic innovations for which it is known will inform and inspire Rochester in perpetuity,” says President Joel Seligman. “The vitality of the arts and humanities at our University is critical to all of our students and faculty, and the Ferraris’ support strengthens our ability to promote these ideals while expanding our connections in the community and with scholars from around the world.”

The Ferrari Humanities Symposia will feature a public talk from a visiting scholar with expertise in humanistic thought from the 14th- to 17th- centuries. The visiting scholar also will participate in courses designed to complement the lecture.

“Through the symposia, we hope to create another opportunity for students at the University to study, appreciate, and reflect on an extraordinary piece of history, while creating new collaborations for students in different academic disciplines,” Bernard Ferrari says. 

“We are delighted that Bernie and Linda encouraged us to think hard about ways to promote the humanities among students with diverse interests. Bernie and Linda’s gift to establish the symposia and related courses energized our community, and the inaugural event on March 21 is a celebration that we are eagerly anticipating,” says Peter Lennie, senior vice president and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering.

Bernard Ferrari and Linda Gaddis Ferrari
Alumnus and trustee Bernard Ferrari, and his wife, Linda Gaddis Ferrari, have established the Ferrari Humanities Symposia to explore collaborations between the arts and sciences.

The Ferraris have a long-standing appreciation of the arts, particularly paintings of the Italian Renaissance period. Linda Gaddis Ferrari earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University cum laude and an MBA from the Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. A former medical researcher and banker, she is now a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bernard Ferrari’s interest in the arts stems from a course he took at Rochester as an undergraduate in medieval and Renaissance-era architecture and art. “The study of the humanities provides people with the ability to better appreciate beauty and better appreciate life,” says Ferrari, who explained that art helped keep him grounded through his rigorous studies in science and medicine. “The arts also have relevance to solving today’s problems when that knowledge is brought together with science and other disciplines.”

Ferrari serves the University as a trustee and a member of The Meliora Challenge Campaign Cabinet. The Ferraris are charter members of the George Eastman Circle. He is a trustee of The Juilliard School in New York; a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a retired fellow of the American College of Surgeons and of the American College of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

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