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National Endowment for the Humanities


Few colleges and universities focus on engaging the public through the humanities to the extent that we do at Messiah College. Through our Center for Public Humanities, we bring together academic, civic, and cultural communities to advance culture and learning well beyond the borders of our campus. The Center sponsors several innovative forms of public humanities outreach programs such as the annual humanities symposium; the Hoverter course (an outreach program that provides tuition-free higher education courses for those whose circumstances have prevented them from pursuing a college education); a history day competition for regional middle and high school students; and interesting lectures, film series, seminars, and workshops—all of which are free and open to the public.


The National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent, grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities, recognized Messiah’s strong commitment to outreach by awarding us a $200,000 challenge grant for our Center of Public Humanities. In order to receive the grant, Messiah must raise $600,000 by 2011. The year the College received this prestigious award, only 22 applicants were funded (out of 122 who applied). Moreover, Messiah was the only liberal arts college in the country funded for a Humanities Center in 2006; the other recipients were large research universities or libraries.


Donors who give to the Center for Public Humanities to help us reach our NEH Challenge Grant goal may take advantage of several naming opportunities that may honor a benefactor's family name and legacy while also advancing the mission of the Center. For instance, a donor may wish to name a distinguished lecture series that brings nationally renowned speakers who stir genuine regional public interest in the humanities. Past presenters at such lectures have included noted media critic and documentary filmmaker Dr. Jean Kilbourne and the Pulitzer-Prize-winning American historian David McCullough.
Gifts of $25,000 to $100,000 (payable over a period of 1-5 years) will endow a named lecture for the Center for Public Humanities, e.g., American Democracy Lecture, Fall Distinguished Lecture Series, or Spring Distinguished Lecture Series.