Dec. 10, 2014

$750,000 awarded to Cornell's Society for the Humanities

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced an award of $750,000 to Cornell’s Society for the Humanities in support of the Central New York Humanities Corridor.

The grant is part of a package of $3.55 million awarded by the foundation to the founding members of the Central New York Humanities Corridor: Syracuse University, Cornell University and the University of Rochester. The grants will be used to create endowments at each university to support the Humanities Corridor in perpetuity: $2 million for Syracuse, $750,000 for Cornell and $500,000 for Rochester. Each institution will match its respective grant. The award includes a spendable grant of $300,000 made to Syracuse University to sustain the corridor through a three-year endowment-planning phase.

“We are extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation for including Cornell in this innovative template for lasting regional collaboration in the humanities,” says Harry C. Katz, Cornell’s interim provost. “The corridor has served as a seedbed of innovation across the various disciplines of the humanities throughout the central New York region.”

In addition to Cornell, Syracuse and Rochester, the Central New York Humanities Corridor involves the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium (Colgate and St. Lawrence universities as well as Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Hamilton, Skidmore and Union colleges). The Central New York Humanities Corridor is administered by Syracuse University through the leadership of its director and principal investigator, Gregg Lambert.

“Our continued ability to profit from cooperative research invention, along with novel partnerships with the New York Six, will further enhance the quality of scholarship emanating from the corridor,” says Timothy Murray, Cornell principal investigator of the corridor and director of Cornell’s Society for the Humanities. “It is an honor that the Society for the Humanities was selected by the Mellon Foundation to house Cornell’s endowment.”

“The corridor is a national model of inter-institutional cooperation,” adds Gretchen Ritter ’83, Cornell’s Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The type of interdisciplinary collaboration and scholarship the corridor embodies is at the heart of the society and of the College of Arts and Sciences in which it is housed.”

Cornell’s involvement in the corridor has previously been supported by the Mellon Foundation with two successive $1 million grants whose funds supported seven thematic research clusters and more than 60 faculty working groups, involving hundreds of established scholars, junior faculty members and graduate students. Cornell groups in philosophy, music, linguistics, visual arts, literature and culture have provided opportunities for Cornell specialists in the humanities to conduct writing groups, seminars, conferences and teaching exchanges with the leading humanists in the region.