75th Anniversary Initiative

 75th Anniversary Initiative

In celebration of the Luce Foundation’s 75th anniversary, and honoring the vision of our founder, Henry R. Luce, we are announcing a special grant-making initiative to foster innovation in the areas of interest that the Foundation has steadfastly pursued. We project a total of $10 million of new grants, to be approved over a two-year period, advancing the foundation’s commitment to leadership and service, scholarship and communication, and international understanding.

Arizona State University Foundation: American Studies courses in China

For the seventh grant in the Luce Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Initiative, the Foundation’s Directors have awarded $750 thousand to Arizona State University Foundation, to support the development of an American Studies course that will be taught at Chinese universities through the American Centers for Cultural Exchange in China (ACCEX). This program, the American Experience Initiative, will establish a multi-platform collaborative model for education and engagement, building greater cultural understanding between two of the world’s most powerful nations.

ACCEX is a network of 19 centers located on Chinese university campuses. Through a longstanding partnership between Arizona State University (ASU) and Sichuan University, ASU’s Center for American Culture first opened in 2010. Based on its success, the U.S. government founded 18 additional centers in 2011 and 2012. Each center involves a partnership with an American college or university or, in two instances, with a non-governmental organization. The centers bring American scholars, artists and professionals to the Chinese campuses for lectures, exhibitions, performances and other types of dialogue and exchange. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing hopes to increase the number of centers to as many as 35.

Through the American Experience Initiative, teams of Chinese faculty members from ACCEX institutions will develop, with the assistance of American studies experts from the U.S., a new, multidisciplinary course on American cultures, society and religion, broadening American studies beyond the typical focus on foreign policy. The course, primarily intended for undergraduates, will be organized in modules, covering a range of historical and contemporary themes, which can be adapted to fit the pedagogical needs and institutional cultures of interested Chinese universities. It will be piloted at five ACCEX institutions, revised based on feedback, and ultimately disseminated through a web portal for access by academic audiences and independent learners throughout China and beyond. The initiative will also design a series of activities that bring Chinese and American students together virtually to build connections between ACCEX partner institutions.

This grant is a fitting celebration of the Foundation’s 75th anniversary and its historical mission. Henry Luce established the Luce Foundation as a lasting tribute to his parents, Elizabeth Root Luce and Henry Winters Luce, Presbyterian missionaries and educators who worked in China during the first part of the twentieth century. His first major gift, in 1935, was an endowment at Yenching University in Peking, and since that time, the Foundation has continued to support programs that “strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic communities.”

Kathryn Mohrman, former president of Colorado College who now serves as a professor in ASU’s School of Public Affairs and who has been instrumental in organizing the ACCEX network, commented that the initiative “will touch the lives of the next generation of Chinese leaders and untold numbers of citizens, making a positive impact on U.S.-China relations for decades to come.”

Ewha Womans University: program for women in STEM

The Luce Foundation is happy to announce the sixth grant in its 75th Anniversary Initiative, an award of $1.5 million to Ewha Womans University, in Seoul, Korea, to support Expanding Horizons, a summer program for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) which will take place on the Ewha campus in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

   (The Ewha Campus)

Founded in 1886, Ewha is the world’s largest comprehensive university for women, currently enrolling over 25,000 women in 11 colleges and 15 graduate schools, including medicine, law, and engineering. Like the Luce Foundation, Ewha Womans University has a longstanding interest in supporting women in STEM disciplines. From founding the world’s first women’s engineering college in 1996, to hosting the 13th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (with 700 participants from 53 countries) in 2005, to organizing the Young Woman Scientist Camp in 2013, Ewha has been dedicated to supporting not only its own students, but the international community of women in the sciences.

Expanding Horizons will be an 18-day experience on the Ewha campus, including ten days of seminar and lecture activity in STEM fields, tours of STEM research and industrial facilities, and visits to Korean historical sites and cultural attractions. It is particularly designed to allow ample time for peer interaction and for one-on-one meetings between students and faculty members. The program will serve 20-24 women each summer, half of them Ewha participants, and half of them Clare Boothe Luce graduate fellows.

   (Students on the Campus)

Created by a bequest from Clare Boothe Luce in 1987, the CBL program offers grants to institutions of higher learning to support undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and initial faculty appointments for women in STEM fields. Since 1987, the program has distributed $149 million to 180 schools, directly benefitting nearly two thousand scholars.

By the terms of Mrs. Luce’s bequest, these grants have been limited to institutions, students, and faculty in the United States. The Luce Foundation is excited to use the opportunity of the 75th anniversary to provide CBL participants with an opportunity for an international experience.

The president of Ewha University commented, “As an institution that is committed to cultivating female talents and leaders in the STEM fields, Ewha tremendously appreciates and values this opportunity to put together a program that we hope will have a lasting impact on the lives of those who will participate.”

American Folk Art Museum: National Traveling Exhibition

For the fifth grant in the Luce Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Initiative, the Foundation has awarded $1.6 million to the American Folk Art Museum, to support a national traveling exhibition of masterworks from the Museum’s collection.

Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum will feature more than 100 works of art that celebrate the singular power of folk art and art by the self-taught. Whether whirligigs or quilts, drawings or paintings, carvings or constructions, the objects reveal highly personal narratives that reflect the challenges and triumphs of an emerging nation and its evolving national identity.

   ('Flag Gate' c. 1876, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr. in honor of Neal A. Prince.
Photo by John Parnell)

This grant from the Luce Foundation will both fund the initial exhibition in New York City from May 13 through August 17, 2014, and allow the show to travel to five venues throughout the country during the next three years, making the Museum’s extraordinary and unique collection accessible to a wider audience.

Ellen Holtzman, the Luce Foundation’s program director for American art, commented that “The grant to the American Folk Art Museum epitomizes the Luce Foundation’s 30-year commitment to raising awareness of the rich scope of American visual art. The national tour is designed to reach maximum audiences across the country, expanding appreciation of the Museum and its signature collection.”

Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, executive director of the American Folk Art Museum, said, “We are profoundly honored. The Luce Foundation’s recognition of our unique mission and wonderful collection and programs allows us to share part of our treasures with a national audience in a direct and powerful manner. The Foundation’s support goes beyond the American Folk Art Museum to celebrate great works that have shaped our country’s heritage and creativity.”

Princeton Theological Seminary: Global Theological Commons

For the fourth grant in the Luce Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Initiative, the Foundation’s Directors have awarded $1.5 million to the Princeton Theological Seminary, towards the development of a global, digital, multimedia library of theological resources. Partnering libraries and publishing houses in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the program will increase both the diversity and the accessibility of theological study, sharing “renowned resources freely with the changing church worldwide, and receiving the stimulating scholarship, insights and wisdom of others in equal measure.”

In a fitting celebration of its 75-year history, this grant celebrates the Luce Foundation’s long relationship with the Princeton Theological Seminary. Henry R. Luce’s father was educated at the Princeton Seminary, and his son Henry Luce III served on the Seminary’s Board of Trustees for 35 years. Previous grants have enabled the construction of the Henry Luce III Research Library and the endowment of the Henry Luce III Chair in Philosophy and the Arts.

The Princeton Seminary has already taken a leading role in the creation of digital resources for shared knowledge and learning. The Seminary created its Theological Commons, a free, public digital library of more than 50,000 religious texts, in 2012, and it has partnered with the Internet Archive to become a center for scanning and dispersing academic resources.

With this 75th anniversary grant from the Luce Foundation, the Seminary will be able to expand this program into a Global Theological Commons, assisting institutions across the world in creating similar libraries of their own. It will also develop an international publisher relations program, working with publishers to bring out-of-print but in-copyright books into the Theological Commons. In the process, the Seminary will be pioneering the new field of “theological informatics,” exploring how more advanced digital media can make images, audio recordings, and interactive e-texts a key part of the study of theology.

This program is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of media pioneer Henry R. Luce and with his family’s commitment to the Princeton Theological Seminary. It celebrates both institutions’ shared commitment to “leadership and service, scholarship and communication, and international understanding.”

The American Council of Learned Societies: Program in China Studies

For the third grant in the Luce Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Initiative, the Foundation’s Directors have awarded $1.2 million to the American Council of Learned Societies to initiate a new program in China Studies. The program’s primary goal is to support the professional formation of the rising generation of American Sinologists at a time of intensified interaction between the United States and China.

The entry costs to the China studies field have always been high, requiring mastery of a difficult language, familiarity with China’s long history, and knowledge of its extensive cultural record. Now, experts in the field must also be acquainted with a growing body of contemporary Chinese scholarship and maintain relationships with Chinese colleagues.

The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies will aid scholarship on Chinese history, literature, culture, and society by means of three complementary grant competitions: awards for doctoral candidates to spend time in China, exploring archives and field sites for dissertation research; post-doctoral fellowships for research in China and writing toward a major scholarly product; and collaborative reading workshops for in-depth, multi-disciplinary investigation of Chinese texts.

In a press release, ACLS president Pauline Yu remarks, "Over the past century American scholarship on China has become enormously strong and capacious, but to remain vital such knowledge must be constantly renewed and extended. This program will assist the scholars who will do that." This grant is the latest in a series of joint efforts between ACLS and the Luce Foundation. For both organizations, China Studies is a longstanding area of interest.

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Luce Foundation's Directors have awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Whitney Museum of American Art to support the installation of works from the Museum’s renowned permanent collection in its new building downtown. The Museum’s new building, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and currently under construction in the Meatpacking district, is projected to open in 2015.

   (The Whitney Museum's New Building Project)

In a press release, Adam D. Weinberg, the Museum's Alice Pratt Brown Director, called the grant "a tremendous vote of confidence." With three times more gallery space than the Whitney's current building, the new location will "enable us to increase the size and scope of all our exhibitions and programming and in particular will fulfill our dream of showing a far more comprehensive view of the Whitney’s unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art," Weinberg said.

Furthering the Luce Foundation's goal of advancing the study of American art through exhibitions, catalogues, archival projects, digitization, and the like, this 75th anniversary grant salutes the Whitney’s steadfast commitment to increasing access to the richness of American art.

Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs

The Luce Foundation’s Directors awarded the 75th anniversary initiative’s first grant to Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Our grant of $2.5 million responds to President Richard Levin’s vision when the Jackson Institute was created two years ago “to go beyond traditional models of professional training to prepare students for service and leadership in an interconnected world.”

   (Michael Marsland / Yale University)

Marking 75 years of philanthropy, we return to Yale, our founder’s alma mater and the recipient of his earliest personal gifts. We recognize Henry R. Luce’s legacy, our foundation’s long relationship with the University and our shared commitment to increasing Americans’ global understanding. Complementing the Jackson family’s landmark gift to establish the Institute, our grant will allow the Institute’s director to take advantage of strategic opportunities to inspire and prepare global citizens.

In announcing the grant, President Rick Levin said, “Time and again - at pivotal moments - the Luce Foundation has stepped forward to invest in Yale in ways that have inspired some of our most innovative and far-reaching initiatives. I am grateful to the Luce Foundation for this significant commitment to the Jackson Institute, and I fully expect that its long-term impact will equal that of Luce’s most noteworthy contributions.”

   (Michael Marsland / Yale University)

The Luce Foundation’s support will enhance three of the Jackson Institute’s principal activities, allowing the director to increase the number of Senior Fellows, chosen each year to enhance Yale’s remarkable faculty; to augment scholarship resources, particularly for incoming graduate students who have recently completed military or humanitarian service; and to expand undergraduate capstone projects. Our grant provides $1 million for the first three years of this work, and $1.5 million to be treated as endowment for scholarships and faculty appointments beyond the initial period.

“A gift of this timing, flexibility, and magnitude is phenomenal,” said James Levinsohn, Director of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and Charles W. Goodyear Professor in Global Affairs. “It comes just as several programs at Jackson are getting started, its configuration allows the Institute to make the most of opportunities as they arise, and the magnitude affords us the chance to make some very significant investments in new programs and student recruitment.”

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