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$14 Million in Gifts Will Support Innovation

Dartmouth's commitment to innovation by its faculty and students has been supported by three new gifts totaling $14 million. A $10 million gift from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, a significant benefactor of the College for many years, will endow two Distinguished Professorships in Emerging Fields in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. A $2 million contribution from Ronald G. Harris '71 and a $2 million gift from an anonymous donor will create two Award Funds for Scholarly Innovation and Advancement, also in the arts and sciences.

"These gifts support Dartmouth's commitment to opening new areas of discovery and fostering faculty and students at that critical moment of creation and genesis of new fields and ideas," says Carol Folt, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences.

"Our goal is to build a community of these distinguished scholars, whose expertise, energy, and experience will provide counsel and vision, invigorate the classroom, and spur curricular depth and research innovation across the institution."

- Carol Folt

"These professorships and their support of pioneering program development will spark the curiosity and imagination of our students and contribute to the creation of a learning environment that is second to none."

The Distinguished Professorships will be awarded to faculty showing exceptional promise and scholarly achievement, poised to make serious advances in new and emerging fields. Healthcare economics, visual culture and digital humanities, applied genomics, global environmental change, and brain science and imaging are examples of disciplines at Dartmouth where such work is already under way.

Distinguished Professors will generally hold five-year terms, after which the endowments will be awarded to the next appointees. Upon completion of their terms, the professors will hold the honorary title of Sherman Fairchild Fellow. "Our goal is to build a community of these distinguished scholars, whose expertise, energy, and experience will provide counsel and vision, invigorate the classroom, and spur curricular depth and research innovation across the institution," says Folt.

The Award Funds for Scholarly Innovation and Advancement will promote the goal of encouraging intellectual innovation and complement an existing program, the Walter and Constance Burke Research Initiation Awards, which provides support for faculty in the early years of their academic careers. The new Innovation Funds will target promising initiatives by senior faculty that would not be routinely supported through traditional funding sources.

The awards will be made through a highly competitive process for senior faculty desiring to move in innovative directions and into emerging fields. These awards will be designed to support activities for up to two years, with the expectation that the support be used to crystallize new ideas, generate new partnerships, and capitalize quickly on promising ideas.

"These Innovation Funds will  enhance our ability to recruit and retain faculty who uphold the highest standards of teaching and scholarship," says Folt.

"The two donors who stepped forward to launch the Award Funds for Scholarly Innovation and Advancement are longtime supporters of Dartmouth's faculty. My colleagues and I are indebted to them for this important new investment."

As a member of the Dean's Council in the 1990s and a current member of the President's Leadership Council, Ron Harris '71 has been a generous and enthusiastic patron of the faculty of the arts and sciences. He has funded the Ronald and Deborah Harris Professorship in the Sciences, the Harris Fellowship Challenge, and the naming of the Thomas Kurtz Conference Room in the new Kemeny mathematics building.

As an undergraduate, Harris worked under then President John Kemeny and Professor Thomas Kurtz on the development of the Dartmouth time-sharing system. Harris was the original engineer for Bloomberg Financial's electronic information network.

These commitments were made under the College's Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience. With an ambitious $1.3 billion goal, Dartmouth is seeking investment in many initiatives across the institution-to advance leading-edge teaching and scholarship, enhance residential and campus life, and honor its commitment to making education accessible-in the undergraduate college, its graduate programs in the arts and sciences, and three professional schools of business, engineering, and medicine.

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Last Updated: 7/24/18