Rutgers to Create First Endowed Chair in Department of Philosophy


Rutgers University will have its first endowed chair in the Department of Philosophy following  a $1.5 million gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and an identical $1.5 million donation from an anonymous donor.

The University officials said that the combined donation will be used to recruit a prominent philosopher to the department.

The Andrew W. Mellon Chair in Philosophy will improve the department's international ranking.

In 2009 Philosophical Gourmet report, Rutgers' Philosophy faculty was listed the second best throughout the English-speaking world and Continental Europe. In the last five years, the department has experienced a stable growth in enrolment, against the ongoing downward trend iin humanities both at Rutgers and country-wide.

"The Rutgers Department of Philosophy is widely acknowledged to be among the best in the world. The scholar who occupies the Andrew W. Mellon Chair in Philosophy will also be among the very best," university President Robert Barchi said in a statement.

Barchi said that the endowed chair will allow the university to continue research projects and activities in the humanities department.

"The holder of the Andrew W. Mellon Chair in Philosophy will add luster to the School of Arts and Sciences, enrich the intellectual lives of our students and faculty, and serve as an advocate for the humanities within the university and throughout the state," said Richard Falk, acting executive dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

In the past five years, the Mellon Foundation has supported a  wide range of initiatives to maintain scholarships in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, and allow students to complete important research projects.

The foundation has financed the operations at the Zimmerli Art Museum, and made a gift of more than $13 million to the Department of English, British studies, graduate fellowships in several disciplines and Rutgers University Press among others.

For the Mellon foundation, this is the first endowed chair at Rutgers.

As part of the school's $1 billion 'Our Rutgers, Our Future'' fundraising campaign, Rutgers officials aim to create 18 new endowed chairs. So far, 11 of them have been established. 

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