Among the many American institutions to arise out of the 20th century,
two of the most influential were the private, philanthropic foundation
and the research university. That they should emerge almost simultaneously
and out of the same culture is no coincidence, and the relationship
between the two will be the focus of a two-day seminar, Philanthropy
and the Research University, to be held at Emory April 1516.
Sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the
Office of the Provost, the conference will examine the history of
this mutually beneficial connection. Sessions also will ask such
questions as who profits from university research, and what the
future may hold for parternerships between philanthropy and academia.
Like our peer institutions, Emory would not have a graduate
school without a huge infusion of philanthropic support, said
Gary Wihl, interim dean of the graduate school. This is a
major strategic consideration for faculty and administrators; were
not inventing this topic. This conference taps into a body of research
and planning that is already out there.
Wihl said the idea for the conference came to him through the work
of Olivier Zunz, Commonwealth Professor of History at the University
of Virginia and one of the scheduled speakers for the conference.
In his book Why the American Century?, Zunz pointed out that
the advent of industrial science in the 19th century created new
applications for the higher knowledge American business had long
Until then, Zunz wrote, scientists had been primarily
searching for the laws of nature; tinkerers and industry for new
products and markets. The division of labor became irrelevant when
finding new markets became increasingly dependent on understanding
the laws of nature.
Thus, the major foundations arose and began providing unheard-of
support to academia, a practice that has mushroomed as the American
economy dominated the 20th century.
Now we have $1 trillion in the nonprofit sector of the economy$450
billion with foundationshundreds of foundations, and they
still play a critical role, Wihl said. But philanthropic
funds today do not have the sweeping impact on graduate education
that the earliest foundations had; its more specialized now.
Im hoping this conference will make some facts and issues
transparent to people.
Also speaking at the conference will be Harold Shapiro, former president
of Princeton University and chair of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
board of trustees; Catharine Stimpson, dean of the graduate school
of New York University and former director of the MacArthur Foundation;
and Robert Weisbuch, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship
Foundation, among others. For full details, visit the graduate school
website at www.emory.edu/gsoas.
Space for the conference is limited to 200 participants to promote
discussion and continuity, Wihl said. Emory faculty and/or staff
will have the $250 registration fee waived. For more information
or to reserve a place, e-mail Aimee Pozorski at email@example.com.