2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Clare Boothe Luce Program, which, since awarding its first grants in 1989, has provided support to more than 2300 women in STEM disciplines. A detailed, insightful article written for the American Mathematical Society dives into Clare Boothe Luce’s personal history and her bequest to establish the program and encourage women to enter and excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.
With her death in 1987 Clare Boothe Luce bequeathed nearly $70 million to establish a fund “to encourage women to enter, study, graduate and teach” in the fields of science, engineering, and mathematics. This decision seems an unlikely choice for a woman who, while alive, was widely known as a playwright, magazine editor, American ambassador to Italy, war correspondent, congresswoman, and wife of Henry Luce, who co-founded TIME Inc. Despite having no known connection to or interest in what are now STEM fields [Teltsch], Clare Boothe Luce challenged women to enter into and excel in more commonly male-dominated fields. Her vision established a foundation that has become “the most significant source of private support for women in science, math and engineering in the US [Grant Spotlight].”
The Clare Boothe Luce Program has supported more than 2300 women since awarding the first grants in 1989 [The Clare Boothe Luce Program]. The 30th anniversary of the initial Clare Boothe Luce Fund awards provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the life of Clare, to consider her motivation in establishing this support, and to explore the impact of her funding on women and institutions.