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Major gift creates enticing package for 'rising stars' in the humanities at KU

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


LAWRENCE — Since the founding of the University of Kansas 150 years ago, courses in the humanities have been the bedrock of a KU education. To further strengthen the humanities at KU, the Hall Family Foundation has made a $1.46 million combination gift and challenge grant.

The foundation’s generosity will support two initiatives. A $468,800 gift will create fellowships for four incoming humanities doctoral students, and a $1 million challenge grant, when matched, will provide $2 million in endowed fellowships for mid-career faculty members in the humanities.

Student recipients of the doctoral fellowships will receive $29,300 a year for up to four years; this will cover tuition and fees and provide a subsistence stipend. Mid-career faculty who receive the fellowship will see a salary increase and a 25 percent reduction in their teaching load, expanding time for research. Additionally, the grant will cover research-related costs.

Angela Andresen Smart, vice president of the Hall Family Foundation, said the foundation was pleased to provide support for the humanities at KU. “This is an exciting opportunity to enhance the important, dynamic work in the humanities today at the Hall Center for the Humanities and across the university,” she said. “KU’s interdisciplinary research in humanities fields, along with numerous collaborative projects across departments and schools, are resulting in growing attention to the value of the humanities to all other academic disciplines. We hope this multi-part grant will help continue this momentum.”

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little expressed gratitude for the gift. “We are tremendously appreciative of the Hall Family Foundation’s continued support of the University of Kansas,” she said. “This generous grant will benefit students and faculty alike and position us to continue our tradition of excellence in the humanities, which remain foundational to our mission as a public research university. On behalf of the entire university community, I extend my sincerest thanks to the Hall Family Foundation.”

Both fellowships will be administered by KU’s Hall Center for the Humanities. Victor Bailey, Hall Center director since 2000, expressed appreciation for the gift.

“The Hall Family Foundation once again demonstrates its fervent commitment to the humanities at KU,” he said. “This generous grant will strengthen our recruitment of the top graduate students and ultimately will pay tribute to KU’s mid-career faculty who are rising stars within the humanities.”

Over the years, the Hall Family Foundation has provided generous support for a number of KU disciplines, including the life sciences, humanities, business and biology. In 2014, the foundation made a $25 million lead gift for construction of a $75 million health education building at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The foundation’s earlier support was instrumental in KU’s achievement of National Cancer Institute designation as well as the establishment of the Hall Center for the Humanities.

The $1 million challenge grant for mid-career faculty fellowships requires a one-to-one match. KU Endowment is seeking donors to establish four fellowship endowments to qualify for the matching funds.

Gifts count toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.