Rutgers-Newark Receives $1.5M Grant to Create Scholarships for Humanities Students

The Rutgers - Newark Honors Living-Learning Community received the three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Newark, NJ - A Rutgers University - Newark program aimed at cultivating overlooked talent has received a $1.5 million grant to help students get their undergraduate degrees in the humanities.

The Rutgers -Newark Honors Living-Learning Community program received the three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which works to protect the humanities and arts. The grant will be used to create a new Clement A. Price Humanities Scholars Program that will accept students in fall 2019.

Rutgers- Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor said the humanities help people to better understand the past and present, which she says is important at “a time when divisions among us appear to be growing and hardening.”

“But we know that the talent pool we have right here in front of us in Newark and in diverse communities across New Jersey, one of the nation’s most diverse states, is up to the task!” Cantor said in a statement. “Fully cultivating that talent is among the highest priorities for our university and for the nation as a whole, and we could not be more excited—nor more grateful—to be able to partner with the Mellon Foundation on this crucial initiative.”

The Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC) was created in 2015 as a college-access program. It challenges the ideas of merit and accepts students who have shown resilience in life and have a passion for civil rights. Many of the students accepted into the program are from Newark.

Students in the new Clement A. Price Humanities Scholars Program will receive full residential scholarships covering room and board, a "generous" financial package, mentoring that will help pursue graduate school or careers in the humanities.  

Price Scholars will be guided on a specialized 18-credit curriculum -- essentially a minor. They will also take their first three courses with other HLLC students to give them the opportunity to explore social inequities and civics. Students in the program will also take elective courses in the humanities and then do a guided research project.

“The future of our democracy depends on the cultivation of positive change agents in the academy who are deeply invested in and courageous enough to prepare themselves to face the prevalent and daunting pressing public challenges that abound in our society,” said HLLC Dean Timothy Eatman.

The new scholars program is named after the late Clement A. Price, a distinguished Rutgers-Newark professor who helped diversify the university’s faculty. The program is open to students of all backgrounds, but will focus on those who are underrepresented in the humanities on the basis of race or socioeconomic status.

The program also puts an emphasis on creating pathways to graduate school, giving students free GRE preparation.

“The number of professors from underrepresented groups in American higher education remains stubbornly low,” wrote Mellon Foundation Senior Program Officer Armando Begochea in a 2018 opinion piece. “College and university students have every right to demand better… Each institution, from small community colleges to grand research universities, has to tap into its own capacity for implementing change models...”

The first class of Price Scholars will be selected among transfer students admitted to the HLLC and current HLLC sophomores.

Those interested in the program must first apply to Rutgers University – Newark by Feb. 1.  Select the HLLC option to receive an invitation for the interview process.

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