Trustees Endorse Application by U Humanities for Rocky Mtn. Center

The University of Utah College of Humanities is trying to be one of a kind.

In early August, the U applied to become a regional center of the National Endowment for the Humanities. On Friday, the U Board of Trustees reviewed the proposal and endorsed the idea.

The NEH is planning to establish 10 regional centers to promote the humanities, encourage scholarship and research and preserve cultural histories.

“We do believe it’s in the best interest of the college and university,” said David Pershing, senior vice president for academic affairs. “It will help support both research and outreach relating to the inner-mountain west.”

Humanities Dean Robert Newman agreed, saying, “We would have a center in the community to regulate outreach.” Focusing on the region would complement national and international profiles, he said.

The U hopes the college will become the regional center for the Rocky Mountain area. Whether or not the region will have a center, or if all 10 centers will be established nationwide, is not certain.

“Whether they can really afford to fund all 10 centers is still in doubt,” Pershing said.

There is no competition within the Rocky Mountain region, including the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, for center status. Representatives from institutes of higher education from around the region have expressed their support for the U.

If selected, the U will face the challenge of having to raise $300,000, which would be matched by the federal endowment.

“They will match one-for-one in the first year,” Pershing said.

After the initial year, the federal match will decrease to $1 for every $3 raised in the region.

“This is money that will be endowed to support activities in this area,” Pershing said.

Overall, feelings are optimistic that the U’s proposal will be accepted.

“It’s very likely that the NEH will fund our proposal,” Newman said.

According to Newman, the co-directors?communication Professor James Anderson and Dean May of the history department?have started looking for potential sources to raise funds.

NEH should be making the announcement of what proposals it selects by the end of this month, Newman said.

“I think [chances of approval] are good?I just wouldn’t know how to quantify that,” Pershing said.

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