HU to open American-style humanities graduate school

$60 billion Mandel Foundation grant is among largest ever received by university.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
March 23, 2011 06:57
2 minute read.
HU to open American-style humanities graduate school

hebrew university 224.88. (photo credit: Hebrew University )

The Humanities Faculty at Hebrew University in Jerusalem will be completely redesigned after receiving a $60 million long-term grant from the Mandel Foundation, the university announced this week.

The grant includes $18 million for a new building on campus to house the graduate program as well as a $2.5 million renewable endowment awarded every year for at least 15 years.

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The grant will allow the university to design a graduate program based on models in the United States, where graduate students receive scholarships so they can study fulltime rather than juggling classes and a job.

There are currently 3,701 students in the Humanities Faculty at Hebrew University, which includes history, languages, archeology, philosophy, art, music, and other liberal arts subjects. Nearly a fifth of the humanities students are studying for their doctorates.

Hebrew University president Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson told The Jerusalem Post that the university did not plan on enlarging the program as a result of the grant, but would concentrate the funds on scholarships for students and endowing chairs for professors.

The new building is currently in the approvals process and is expected to be finished in 2014. Though the exact location is still under discussion, it will most likely be located in the eastern part of the campus near the Rabin Building.



“Perhaps more than any other discipline, the humanities stress creativity, critical thinking, and honest deliberation,” said Ben-Sasson.

He added that the total grant from the Mandel Foundation, which is around $60 million, is one of the largest single gifts the university has ever received.

The grant will help send a message to the Israeli public about the importance of humanities, he said.

Humanities programs around the world are often not as well funded as business or engineering programs, which tend to have more affluent graduates.

The Mandel Foundation has donated significant amounts of money to other humanities faculties, including a $22.5 million grant to establish the Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis University, which was inaugurated in October, 2010. They also donated the money for the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“Our investment in the humanities at The Hebrew University is an investment in the future of Israel and her people,” Morton Mandel, chairman and CEO of the Mandel Foundation, said in a statement.

“The humanities classroom is where ancient meets modern, history touches modernity, and new ideas and ways of thinking are born.”

The Mandel Family has a variety of funds dedicated to philanthropic causes, including the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem.

Cleveland, OH natives Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel made their fortune by starting Premier Industrial Corporation in 1940, which started as an auto maintenance store and eventually grew into a multimillion dollar enterprise for maintenance and electronic parts. In 1996, the company was acquired by an English electronics company for nearly $3 billion.


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