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College of Humanities receives grant to establish Presidential Chair of English

A transformative gift for the College of Humanities.

The University of Utah’s College of Humanities is honored to announce a transformative gift, made possible by generous donors from the ESRR Humanities/Arts Endowment Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation. The fund provides approximately $500,000 per year in perpetuity to establish a chair in the English department, an increase to graduate student stipends and an annual creative writing residency.

“It is a rare and distinct pleasure to work with donors who appreciate and are committed to supporting the endeavors of our college in all its phases — from faculty research to graduate student support and improved services for undergraduate students,” said Stuart K. Culver, dean of the College of Humanities. “This incredibly generous gift — really a series of gifts — has been carefully considered and crafted to address some of the most pressing needs in this moment. The impact of these investments in our future will be felt by everyone in the humanities’ community immediately and for years to come.”

The Department of English is currently working to assemble a committee to search for a medieval or early modern professor for the ESRR Chair in English to begin in fall 2022.

“Needless to say, this is a big and very welcome post-pandemic surprise,” said Scott Black, chair of the Department of English. “Our department is honored to establish this prestigious presidential chair in literary history and a new creative writing residency, which will benefit countless students, the college and the broader community. We are also thrilled to be able to recruit and retain stellar graduate students thanks to the increase in the stipends we can now offer.”

The ESRR Humanities/Arts Endowment Fund has also committed $200,000 toward a matching grant to renovate the lobby of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building to create a more student-centered space. The area will include resources such as advising, internship information, career coaching, scholarship and financial aid help, meeting spaces for student groups and more. The college will raise funds for this innovative project this fall.