Mellon Foundation awards U of M Department of History with grant to advance education

May 23, 2018
Earl Lewis

The University of Minnesota’s Department of History announced a $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to advance the research and training of graduate students in American history. In particular, the funding is dedicated to diversifying the next generation of scholars by providing resources to support students studying African American, Native American and immigration history, and others with a commitment to diversity in the professoriate.

The award honors Earl Lewis, a University of Minnesota alumnus (Ph.D., History, 1984) and Mellon Foundation president and historian, on his retirement from the Foundation. Lewis was the sixth president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from March 2013 to March 2018. Prior to that, he held faculty appointments at the University of California at Berkeley (1984–89), and the University of Michigan (1989–2004). Over the course of his career, he has championed the importance of diversifying the academy, enhanced graduate education, re-visioned the liberal arts, explored the role of digital tools for learning and connecting universities to their communities.

“When I met Earl Lewis as a young graduate student at the University of Minnesota nearly four decades ago, I knew then that he was special,” said Joe William Trotter Jr., Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice, Carnegie Mellon University, and longtime friend of Earl Lewis. “But his remarkable journey through the academy has been more than special. His global accomplishments as a scholar, administrator, educator, philanthropist and humanist are stellar. Our world is better because Earl Lewis lives, reflects and works in it.”

"We are enormously grateful for the Mellon Foundation's generous support, which will help build a more vibrant culture of diverse perspectives and will fuel intellectual exploration at the University of Minnesota and beyond," said Elaine Tyler May, chair of the Department of History.

Funding will be used for recruitment fellowships, summer fellowships and dissertation writing fellowships. It will become available on July 1, 2018.

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