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Mellon Foundation Philanthropy at Southwestern

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The Mellon Foundation’s vision for the liberal arts impacts many academic areas at Southwestern.

With the arrival of President Jake Schrum in 2001, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation made its first contribution to Southwestern University in the form of a “President’s Grant” of $50,000.  This gift was broadly construed, allowing President Schrum leeway to begin realizing his unique vision for Southwestern.  This partnership continues to this day.  The Mellon Foundation’s vision for the liberal arts is highly inclusive and impacts many academic areas at Southwestern.

  • Diversity grants have included both student and faculty initiatives, including exchange programs within a consortium of five member schools in the Associated Colleges of the South.  When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in Fall 2005, Mellon program officers funded a grant known as “Moving Forward,” which took advantage of advanced educational technologies to help Dillard faculty get back on track with teaching.  Dillard faculty did technology residencies at Southwestern and needed equipment was purchased for the Dillard campus.         
  • In March 2009 several years of planning and design culminated in a $750,000 grant for Southwestern’s Environmental Studies program.  This program is fueling rapid growth in the number of majors in Environmental Studies and in the opportunities for student involvement both on campus and through the program’s global environmental focus.   Southwestern’s first tenure-track full-time professor in Environmental Studies will arrive on campus this fall.
  • In May of 2009, Southwestern became the home of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, more commonly known as NITLE.  NITLE is supported by the Mellon Foundation and helps leading liberal arts colleges and universities nationwide with the integration of inquiry, pedagogy, and technology into their programs.  Today NITLE staff members throughout the US are linked through technology to the core staff located here on Southwestern’s campus.          
  • Mellon announced support in March 2011 for a program focusing on Writing in the Disciplines.  This $720,000 program is based at Southwestern and joins forces with the Department of Rhetoric & Writing at the University of Texas to bring graduate teaching fellows to Southwestern.  Mellon Fellows will work closely with faculty throughout campus to integrate disciplinary writing into the curriculum.  The new writing program also focuses on the use of library resources – both technological and printed – and will bring library interns from the University of Texas School of Information to work closely with the project.