The grand challenges of today, including environmental change, the evolution of new powerful technologies, advances in medicine and biology, and increasing social complexity and diversity demand the perspectives and voices of the humanities. A new endowment, established with a $60,000 pledge from Tyrus Miller, dean of the UCI School of Humanities, will make it possible to host conversations around these issues and more that are urgently important today. 

“When I took up the UCI Humanities deanship in 2018, I experienced the remarkable amount and diversity of programming that we had in our departments, research centers and clusters, and from our individual faculty. But I felt like there was still room for new forums to hear about and discuss issues in the humanities that spanned our various disciplines and foci and that would engage broader publics,” said Miller.

The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series will establish dedicated resources to support events that provide the public with the opportunity to listen to and engage with leading speakers on key issues of humanities scholarship and creative work. In the short run, it will help to continue to support the School of Humanities’ Wellek Library Lecture Series, a prestigious and longstanding program that has brought the world’s preeminent critical theorists to UCI for nearly four decades. Previous speakers include Angela Davis, Homi Bhabha, Étienne Balibar and Jean-François Lyotard.

In the long run, the endowment will allow the incumbent dean of the school to support new initiatives as well.

“This endowment is just a first step towards what we want to accomplish as a school,” said Miller. “Our aspirational goals for philanthropic support for the school include a Humanities Center endowment and increasing student support,” said Miller.

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.

Photo credit: Steve Zylius/UCI
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