Chancellor Nancy Cantor has announced that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N) a $2 million challenge grant to create an endowed chair honoring the legacy of the late Dr. Clement A. Price. The Clement A. Price Endowed Chair in Public History and Humanities is intended to attract a distinguished interdisciplinary scholar of the highest caliber who will also be named Director of the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience. Situated in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Price Chair will be expected to galvanize and actively build a community of scholars in the public interest.
“We are deeply honored by the foundation’s decision to create this new chair at Rutgers University–Newark perpetuating the legacy of a member of the community who so personified the city in which he studied, taught, and lived, but whose scholarship and teaching resonate powerfully nationwide,” says RU-N Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “As director of the newly named Price Institute, the new chair will work across disciplines with scholars, community partners, and students to advance research on public history, race, and ethnicity.”
“Clem spent a lifetime as a scholar and public servant explaining the value of higher education, the humanities, arts and diversity to a range of publics,” observes Earl Lewis, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “We can think of no better way to honor his memory and ensure the continuation of the work he started than helping to support the creation of the Clement A. Price Endowed Chair in Public History and the Humanities.”
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jan Ellen Lewis, who will manage the grant from the Mellon Foundation, will work with Chancellor Cantor and the RU-N development team to raise an additional $1 million to fulfill the grant’s challenge by June 30, 2018. “Rutgers-Newark and the City of Newark had no greater friend or champion than Clem Price,” says Lewis. “He inspired colleagues near and far, leaders across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and generations of students, as well as just about anyone he met in his everyday life. He had an unfathomable impact on so many and on the very definition of public history. We look forward to reaching out to all of these constituencies and others who simply share Clem’s ethos of co-creating scholarship for the public good as we raise the matching funds for this generous grant.”
Founded by Dr. Price in 1997, the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience has become an exemplary site for the practice of public history and humanities. Its guiding premise is that the best scholarship on race, ethnicity, history, and urban and public affairs is developed at the intersection of the academy and its broader community, crossing all boundaries of culture, ethnicity, language, religion, and generation. The Institute has pursued this vision through programs grounded in shared reflection upon and re-examination of history to foster civic dialogue and enact civic interventions designed to bridge cultural divides.
Cantor says that the Price Chair is intended to build upon this strong legacy. “The public is calling upon higher education to engage more broadly and deeply with the pressing issues facing our communities. The Price Chair will redouble our efforts specifically to use history and the humanities more broadly as a platform to bring communities together to catalyze renewal in cities like Newark and indeed the nation.”
It is anticipated that as leader of the Institute, the Price Chair will attract a senior scholar in American Studies or a related field and will increase the Institute’s impact by playing multi-faceted roles as researcher, mentor, catalyst, and collaborator. The chair will convene a robust community of scholars, working across disciplines, engaging community partners, and mentoring junior scholars, doctoral students, and post-doctoral fellows to sustain and strengthen the next generation of public humanists. The Mellon endowment also will provide support for new research on public history, race, and ethnicity, advancing Rutgers University – Newark’s tradition of inclusion by cultivating diverse generations of public humanists skilled in engaging others in vibrant and productive civic dialogue. It also will underline the importance of public scholarship as civic intervention, communicating that the work of the academy is in no uncertain terms the work of the world.
The creation of the Price Chair follows the renaming of the Institute in Price’s honor. Inspired by Price’s lifelong work and extraordinary personal and professional impact, over 230 friends, family, colleagues and admirers gave more than $5 million in gifts and philanthropic commitments, including his beloved family, childhood friends, fellow educators, small business owners, and current and former CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. This tremendous outpouring of respect and appreciation is a testament to the formidable impact that Price made as an individual and through the Institute. Donations in his memory also helped to successfully complete a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that Price had secured to create the Clement A. Price Endowment for the Humanities, a permanent endowment for Institute’s work with community organizations within the humanities.
Dean Lewis says that RU-N expects to attract a public scholar of the highest caliber. “We aim to recruit to the Price Chair a distinguished public humanist who already has made signal contributions to the critical discussions about race, ethnicity, culture, and urban affairs that are essential not simply for bridging the academy and the public but also for enabling the nation to address the most pressing problems of the day. Further, this scholar will not imagine his or her work as a solitary endeavor but a collective one, to be performed by scholars and citizens together, and will be committed to nurturing the next generation of scholars of similar convictions.” The search for that distinguished, publicly engaged scholar will be announced when the challenge grant is fulfilled.
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