Gift Supports Faculty in the Humanities

Gift Supports Faculty in the Humanities

A recent gift from University of Rochester Trustee Bernard T. Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD) and his wife, Linda, establishes the President’s Ferrari Humanities Award. This endowed fund provides a $25,000 annual award—in perpetuity—to promote and support humanities research among tenured and tenure-track faculty across Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (AS&E) who are affiliated with the University’s Humanities Center.

“Through their ongoing generosity, Bernie and Linda have created a new pathway to inform our understanding of the humanities,” says Richard Feldman, president of the University of Rochester. “This new gift will directly support the scholarship of our faculty, and for that we are grateful.”

The award will recognize a creative research approach that either builds on previously published work or charts a new direction for new publication. It will be presented annually to one faculty member, or two if there is a joint project, and can be used for research travel, materials, and investigation. The nomination and submission process will open this summer and the winner(s) will be announced at the end of each calendar year.

Award recipients will be selected by a jury comprised of the dean of the Faculty of AS&E, the dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, and the director of the Humanities Center. The president of the University will make the final award decision.

The gift underscores the Ferraris’ ongoing commitment to the humanities at the University, and shows the high levels at which the humanities are valued here. In 2012, the Ferraris made a $1 million endowed gift to Arts, Sciences & Engineering to create the annual Ferrari Humanities Symposia. Through lectures and related events, the symposia explores collaborations between the arts and the sciences through the lens of the humanities, specifically focusing on the Renaissance period.

“All of education helps us think critically,” says Ferrari. “What’s distinct about the humanities is that they teach us to read, and not just words, but ways of interpreting, comprehending, and looking for meaning. They help us connect the dots between ideas, concepts, and perspectives—the beauty they add and the contributions they offer are invaluable in today’s world.”

“The Ferraris’ generous gift rests on their conviction that the study of the humanities is essential to a liberal education and to an understanding of the human condition,” says Joan Shelley Rubin, the Dexter Perkins Professor in History and the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Director of the Humanities Center. “Their passion for humanistic inquiry will not only benefit faculty research but also foster the critical thinking and empathy that will enrich all of our lives.”

Both Dr. and Mrs. Ferrari 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 and her MBA from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. A former medical researcher and banker, she is now a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Dr. Ferrari’s interest in the arts stems from a course he took at Rochester as an undergraduate in Medieval and Renaissance architecture and art. Those classes helped to keep him grounded through his studies in science and medicine.

A Rochester native, Dr. Ferrari received his bachelor’s degree in science from the University in 1970 and a medical degree from the School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1974. He earned a law degree and an MBA while working as the chief operating officer of the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. He then went on to have a nearly 20-year career as director and partner in the global management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company. This summer, he will retire as professor and dean of the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, a position he has held since 2012. Dr. Ferrari is also the author of Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All (Portfolio, 2012).

The Ferraris are Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle. Dr. Ferrari is also 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 the American College of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

Learn more about Bernie and Linda Ferrari and their passion for the humanities. For more on this year’s Ferrari Humanities Symposia including today’s keynote address, Sacrifice Your Daughter: Horrible History in Chaucer and the Book of Judges” with medievalist David Wallace, visit the Humanities Center website.

Kristine Thompson, April 11, 2019