University of Rochester

Mellon Grant Aids Humanities with University of Rochester as Partner

February 28, 2006

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to Syracuse University to work with the University of Rochester and Cornell University for the creation of a "Central New York Humanities Corridor." The initiative is being established to connect teaching and research in the humanities among the three leading institutions.

"The University of Rochester began as a liberal arts school focusing on the humanities. The humanities remain a core of our University," said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester. "This opportunity to develop a 'humanities corridor' with Cornell and Syracuse will regionally promote the arts, languages, and related studies. This will showcase the strengths in all three institutions and encourage collaboration that will be of particular benefit to our students."

Inspired in part by the mission of the science/technology Research Triangle in North Carolina, the corridor will enhance the profile and connectivity of the humanities. Faculty and students will work together in philosophy and linguistics as well as music history, musicology, visual arts and cultures, and other areas.

"This grant from the Mellon Foundation will enable unprecedented collaboration that will enrich and strengthen the humanities in the upstate New York region," said William Scott Green, Dean of the College and professor of religion at Rochester. "The University of Rochester is delighted to be a full contributing partner to this enterprise, and we anticipate consequential and long-lasting results from our work with Syracuse and Cornell. This is a good day for humanistic learning."

During the three years, the humanities corridor will take the form of group research and conversations among participating humanities faculty in each cluster; funded interdisciplinary workshops and conferences; and faculty exchanges among the institutions. Initially, all three institutions will collaborate in the area of visual arts and cultures while continue existing partnerships in philosophy and linguistics. No less than two institutions will collaborate in the remaining clusters.

"Syracuse is honored to partner with Cornell and Rochester, which are lustrous institutions with strong systems of academic research and education, particularly at the doctoral levels," commented Cathryn R. Newton, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse. "Such a collaboration, with its deep history of connections among sister departments, presents a nationally significant intellectual opportunity."

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a private, not-for-profit corporation headquartered in New York City, regularly makes grants that support a wide range of initiatives to strengthen selective research universities in the United States, with particular emphasis on the humanities and "humanistic" social sciences. The foundation's interests in this area include (but are not limited to) doctoral education, postdoctoral fellowships, faculty research support, and discipline-related projects.

The three universities are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of 62 leading research institutions in the United States and Canada that is committed to the development and implementation of institutional and national policies promoting strong programs in academic research and scholarship and undergraduate, graduate, and professional education.

Note to editors: For more information about the thematic clusters defining the humanities corridor, visit