On Giving Day, UCI School of Humanities raises over $30,000

On Giving Day, UCI School of Humanities raises over $30,000

 Office of the Dean November 17, 2020

Gifts support Armenian studies, Asian American studies, LGBTQ+ research, New Swan Shakespeare Center and students in need

On June 24, the UCI School of Humanities raised $32,671 for student support and community programming from 134 donors across the country as part of Giving Day.

Occurring annually, Giving Day is a UCI-wide online and 24-hour fundraising challenge. This year, the School of Humanities sought support for Western Armenian language classes, scholarships for students in Asian American studies’ 4+1 program, support for students impacted by COVID-19, LGBTQ+ studies, and public programming from the New Swan Shakespeare Center.

Western Armenian language courses
In 2010, UNESCO listed Western Armenian as an endangered language. In the UCI School of Humanities, donor-funded courses help to preserve it. For Giving Day, the program rallied support for Western Armenian language classes at both elementary and intermediate levels. These courses contribute to the survival and flourishing of the Armenian language in the diaspora, as linguistic knowledge impacts cultural awareness and understanding.

“The Armenian language courses have provided me with the opportunity to truly connect with my identity in a way I never have before,” says alumna Nara Alice Avakian (B.A. sociology ’20), who was the first student to earn an Armenian studies minor. “It’s remarkable to learn the language of my ancestors in an academic setting and to be represented at my school.”

Armenian Studies raised $7,400 on Giving Day with support from the Gulbenkian Foundation, who generously matched the first $3,700 donated.

Asian American studies 4+1 program
The Department of Asian American Studies is home to the 4+1 Program in Asian American studies, in which students can earn a master’s in Asian American studies in just one additional year after earning their bachelor’s. This is the only B.A./M.A. program in the country of its kind. For Giving Day, the department raised support for students in their final year of the 4+1 Program and wanted to raise enough for five $1,000 scholarships. Thanks to the generosity of donors, they raised well over that, raising a total of $7,022. Dr. John Liu, Christina Woo, and Dr. Mary Ann Takemoto helped the department reach their goal by matching the first $2,500, helping other donors double their impact.

Support for students impacted by COVID-19
In March, the outbreak of COVID-19 suspended the world, forcing much of the university’s activity to move online. Additionally, many students lost the jobs they depend on to finish their college education and complete their research. In response to this crisis, the Dean’s Excellence Fund raised support for these students in the form of emergency relief funds, internships, and research funds. With the help of Tyrus Miller, dean of the School of the Humanities at UCI, who matched the first $5,000 donated, the Dean’s Excellence Fund raised $10,084.

LGBTQ+ studies
UCI Humanities serves as a hub for LGBTQ+ scholarship. In addition to a major and minor in gender and sexuality studies, students across campus learn about LGBTQ+ issues in a wide range of fields such as: film, history, literature, art history, and ethnic studies classes. For the first time, the School of Humanities sought to raise support for graduate and undergraduate students engaging in LGBTQ+ research and project opportunities in the form of fellowships, scholarships, summer research stipends, and paid experiential learning opportunities. With a generous $1,000 gift made by an anonymous donor, the school raised $1,965. This funding is earmarked for a graduate student summer research award (summer 2021).

New Swan Shakespeare Center
Co-directed by Professor of English Julia Lupton and Chancellor’s Professor of Acting Eli Simon, the New Swan Shakespeare Center aims to share the wonderful world of Will with the campus and community. A cross-campus initiative with the Office of Research, the School of Humanities and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, the New Swan Shakespeare Center supports New Swan Shakespeare Festival each summer and presents lectures, workshops and performances, all designed to delight and educate enthusiasts of the Bard from every walk of life. This year, with the help of Lupton, who matched the first $1,000 donated, the center raised $6,200 for programs bringing local educators and students to campus to learn about Shakespeare.

“I attended Educator's Day in 2018, where I got to watch and analyze ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream,’” Coast Union High School English teacher and alumna Sarah Johnston (B.A.s English and film & media studies ’13) explains. “I've taken these lectures to heart and have put this material into practice when I teach Shakespeare to sophomores and seniors Shakespeare in high school today. My AP Lit class just finished ‘Hamlet,’ and my sophomores are in the middle of ‘Macbeth!’"

A few of the programs supported by the funds raised on Giving Day include First Folio Friday, where the local community can get up close with Shakespeare’s First Folio; Educator’s Day, where local educators can come to campus to learn more about Shakespeare; and special performances for local students.

Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The School of Humanities plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more here.