Mellon Foundation Awards Humanities and Social Science Grant to Amherst College

August 31, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York has awarded Amherst College a matching grant of $1.5 million to create an endowment to bring young scholars to campus as postdoctoral fellows in the humanities and social sciences. Under the terms of the Mellon grant, Amherst will have three years to raise an additional $1.5 million from individual donors.

The Mellon award comes after two previous grants from the foundation enabling Amherst to host 11 postdoctoral fellows in departments ranging from English to Anthropology and Sociology over the past seven years. An additional award from Mellon in 2004 allowed Amherst to bring one new fellow to campus this fall to participate in the Global Sound Project, an innovative interdisciplinary project originally established through support from the President's Initiative Fund.

The new endowment fund will create a permanent source of support for bringing talented young academics to Amherst's campus to help develop new courses, foster interdisciplinarity and introduce new pedagogies, while also providing the fellows with valuable teaching experience and time to complete and publish their research prior to seeking full-time jobs in academe. By matching Mellon 's grant, Amherst expects to ultimately support at least two postdoctoral fellows at the college each year.

In expressing his gratitude for this award, Amherst College President Anthony W. Marx noted: "If liberal arts colleges are to remain a vital force in American higher education, it is essential that the brightest scholars continue to join our learning communities. Mellon's postdoctoral fellowships program has successfully demonstrated that time spent on a college campus can help talented young scholars to forward their careers and more keenly appreciate the rewards of working directly and intensively with undergraduates as part of a liberal arts curriculum."

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York is a private foundation, with assets of approximately $4 billion, which makes grants on a selective basis to institutions in higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, population, conservation and the environment and public affairs.

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