Mellon Grant Brings $12 Million
Two of the College's highest priorities are building the endowment and attracting and retaining talented, committed faculty members. But how can we do both at once?
A 3:1 matching grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has leveraged more than $12 million, which will simultaneously tackle both short- and long-term needs, growing the endowment and providing immediate budgetary relief.
The fund, called the Mellon Core, will be used to endow faculty chairs or program directorships every two to three years starting in 2008-09. Thus, the Core will become a perpetual engine for creating endowed posts that in turn will provide significant budget support.
Recruiting and keeping talented and committed faculty members is no small task, but endowed chairs can provide valuable tools to recruit new faculty members-and to recognize the excellence of current ones.
Sarah Lawrence was one of 16 small "excellent but under-endowed" liberal arts colleges invited by the Mellon Foundation to apply for a Centers of Excellence grant to "address a major priority, leading to a long-lasting, positive educational and financial outcome."
"Teaching people to think well takes face-to-face time between teachers and students, and that requires substantial investment in faculty," said President Michele Myers.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has recently supported the College's visual arts curriculum and faculty development in the humanities. The Spring '05 issue of Sarah Lawrence reported on the foundation's 2000 grant for the creation of the Summer Institute for student leadership and a subsequent grant, in 2003, for related projects such as the First-Year Institute and the Democratic Arts program.
Working for Oprah
Last fall, College Trustee Joan Countryman '62 became the interim headmistress of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. She had recently retired as the headmistress of the prestigious Lincoln School in Providence, R.I., but the opportunity to work with Winfrey and underprivileged girls from South Africa was enough to bring her out of retirement. Countryman will set up and run Winfrey's $50 million all-girls boarding school and help appoint a permanent director.
Countryman has fought for social justice ever since her days at SLC. Her involvement in civil rights protests in Bronxville and New York City was featured in the Winter 2004 issue of Sarah Lawrence.