Whittier College Receives Grant from W.M. Keck Foundation

October 20, 2009

The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded Whittier College a grant for $250,000 to launch two interdisciplinary learning centers: the Center for Science, Health, and Policy (CSHP), and the Center for Collaborations with the Arts (CCA). The funding from the Keck Foundation will primarily support cross-discipline course development and student fellowships. Theatre professor Jennifer Holmes will serve as CCA's inaugural director, and biology professor Dave Bourgaize will serve as the inaugural director for the CSHP.

"Support from the Keck Foundation to launch the Centers affirms Whittier's approach to education—that we are educating students to see the world from multiple perspectives—and applauds Whittier faculty for their excellent commitment to interdisciplinary teaching. The Keck Foundation award also will further enable us to recruit talented students who can make significant contributions to these fields in the future," said President Sharon Herzberger.

The Centers will maximize student learning by further advancing the College's deep commitment to interconnected curricula, as well as collaborative teaching, undergraduate research and internships, and the integration of student learning experiences within local, national and international communities.

A centerpiece of the project will be the Keck Undergraduate Fellows Program, which will give financial and mentoring support to 21 of the College's best students, providing funds for internships and research assistantships in the summer following their junior year, and for continuing scholarly activity during their senior year.

Furthermore, the grant will support the development of eight new cross-study courses tied to the Centers; travel to external communities; visits from field leaders to campus; symposiums; and support for the Centers' faculty directors as they lead fellow faculty members in the execution of new Center activities. 

The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 in Los Angeles by William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company. Our Foundation is one of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations, with assets of more than $1 billion. Mr. Keck envisioned a philanthropic institution that would provide far-reaching benefits for humanity. By taking a bold, creative approach to grant making, he created a legacy that the Foundation proudly upholds today. In recent years, the Foundation has focused on Science and Engineering Research; Medical Research; Undergraduate Education; and Southern California.