University of Rochester

University of Rochester Launches Humanities Fund

July 17, 2006

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman has committed $100,000 from the President's Venture Fund to create a Humanities Fund in 2006-07 to support work by Rochester faculty in philosophy, the arts, languages, and other humanities disciplines.

Working with Peter Lennie, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, Seligman created the fund as part of an initiative to emphasize the importance of the humanities to the life of the University.

The Humanities Fund will support opportunities for faculty in the College to work more closely together across disciplines. The fund also will help bring to campus distinguished scholars who represent areas of interest to several departments and who can highlight emerging fields or current intellectual debates. A working group of department chairs will recommend initiatives for support.

Seligman said the study of the humanities has long been an important part of what makes an education at Rochester distinctive and, ultimately, provide students with the broad perspective they need for their lives after graduation.

"Our students will be better prepared for careers in any field and more thoughtful as citizens, if, for example, they have had the chance to address the most vital questions that philosophy can pose, to better understand the origin of the world's great religions, to see the intricacy of human experience as only the arts and literature can illuminate, or to appreciate other cultures in their own language," Seligman said.

The Humanities Fund is the latest in an effort to emphasize the role of the humanities at the University. Last winter, the University of Rochester, Cornell University, and Syracuse University announced a partnership under a three-year, $1 million grant awarded to Syracuse to create a "Central New York Humanities Corridor." That initiative is being established to connect teaching and research in the humanities among the three leading institutions.