Four Universities Receive NEH Grants to Develop Regional Humanities Centers

WASHINGTON, (July 24, 2000)

Another step toward nationwide network of 10 centers for study of regional culture

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $50,000 awards to four universities to develop major centers for regional history and culture. The Ohio University in Athens; the University of California, Davis; Northern Illinois University in DeKalb; and the University of Wisconsin, Madison join 16 other universities selected last December to receive planning grants in the first phase of NEH's Regional Humanities Centers initiative. The initiative is designed to create a nationwide network of 10 major regional centers devoted to research, cultural preservation, public programming and lifelong learning about the history, people, traditions and landscapes that characterize America's regions.

The 10 regions identified for the NEH initiative are Pacific, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, Central, Deep South, South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, New England. The planning awards made to the 20 universities came from a fund raised primarily through private donations. Grants were awarded on the basis of each institution's existing resources, capacity for original research and documentation of regional heritage, plans for educational outreach to schools, communities, and cultural tourists, and commitment to creating regionwide partnerships.

"Regional centers are part of NEH's strategy for bringing the humanities to all Americans," said NEH Deputy Director John Roberts. "Not only will the centers be closer to us geographically. They will also appeal to our 'sense of place'-a sense that we all have, though we don't often think about it-just as we all have other senses like seeing, hearing and so forth. The places where we grew up, which we have chosen to call home, or to which we travel for rest and relaxation all mean something to us. The people, landscape, customs and stories have touched us one way or another and help to make us who we are."

Each regional center will serve as the hub of regional networks that include cultural, educational, civic and business organizations. The center and its collaborative network will be dedicated to enriching understanding of America's regional experience-its landscape, people, history and culture-through the tools of the humanities. "Place" will be the focal point for understanding America's diverse voices and reaffirming our common bonds as Americans. The centers will ensure that the public, both residents of the region and travelers to it, have opportunities to experience and comprehend each region's distinctive character.

The first phase of the Regional Humanities initiative provides planning support for two institutions in each of the 10 regions. In the second phase, planning-grant recipients will be eligible to apply for funding to implement their plans. One institution in each region is expected to be awarded an implementation grant, which it then must match 3 to 1, priming it to play a major role as steward and educator for the region's share of America's heritage.

Institutions that have been awarded planning grants are:

  • Pacific (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands)
    San Francisco State University, Calif.
    University of California, Davis
  • Southwest (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas)
    Arizona State University, Tempe
    Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos
  • Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming)
    University of Montana, Missoula
    University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota)
    North Dakota State University, Fargo
    University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Upper Mississippi Valley (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin)
    Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Central (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia)
    Michigan State University, East Lansing
    Ohio University, Athens
  • Deep South (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee)
    Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
    University of Mississippi, Oxford
  • South Atlantic (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
    College of Charleston, S.C.
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville/ Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
  • Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia)
    Temple / Rutgers-Camden Universities, Philadelphia, Pa.
    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
    Brown University, Providence, R.I.
    University of New Hampshire-Durham

"Only by developing new partnerships with the private sector is NEH able to develop this important initiative for the benefit of all Americans," Deputy Chairman Roberts said. "We are deeply grateful to our private-sector partners who are providing major funding for NEH's Regional Humanities Centers Initiative."

The planning grants have been underwritten by the generous contributions of The Ford Foundation; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; Appalachian Regional Commission; The Freedom Forum; Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation; The Rockefeller Foundation; The Chisolm Foundation; Roger Malkin; John N. Palmer Foundation; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; Hanes Charitable Lead Trust; The Gazette and Sandra and Chuck Lyons.

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