McGregor Fund Awards Denison Grant for Enhancing Student Intellectual Engagement
Posted: August 29, 2005
GRANVILE, Ohio -- Denison University has been awarded a three-year, $250,000 grant from the McGregor Fund of Detroit for a program enhancing student intellectual engagement through shared, theme-related experiences both inside and outside the classroom. TitledGetting Connected, Making Connections, the program will be based each year on a broad intellectual theme that will appear in a variety of settings at Denison, including classes, addresses by guest speakers, arts events, field trips, and off-campus service projects. The theme for the 2005-06 year focuses on the concept of home -- how human beings create homes and in turn, how homes shape human beings.
"Denison is committed to building genuine intellectual community among our students, faculty and staff," said Denison President Dale T. Knobel. "In recent years we have been very successful in using aesthetic and intellectual themes to engage our first-year students in that community as they begin their Denison education. Thanks to this generous grant from the McGregor Fund, we now have the oppor-tunity to expand this experience to our entire campus. We are excited and very grateful to the McGregor Fund."
Denison Provost David R. Anderson commented on the educational significance of the project for the liberal arts college. "Focusing on a common theme each year allows Denison to integrate the learning experiences of students," he said. "We know that students learn best when they can make connections between ideas presented in the classroom and experiences they have outside the classroom. Our McGregor grant will make it possible to explore our annual theme not only in courses but also in many other co-curricular ways across the campus."
This autumn's focus on "home" is formally titled "Built by Rasp and Bicycle," a quotation from a narrative poem, "Building a House," by Denison's late Poet-in-Residence Paul Bennett. Laurel Kennedy, Denison's Dean of First-Year Students, explained that Bennett's experience of literally building his own home near the Denison campus 50 years ago has become a living part of the Denison community by virtue of the poem. "We want to encourage creativity among our students when they explore ideas and themes," she said. "Paul Bennett's expressive poem is a great example of such inspired creativity, so it is very meaningful for us to name our program this year with a line he wrote about his own home."
A number of events, activities, and courses that explore the theme of "home" are scheduled for the upcoming academic year at Denison. For example, on Tuesday (Aug. 30), former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will speak on the topic, "Building Communities, Enriching Lives" (8 p.m., Swasey Chapel). Four days later on Saturday (Sept. 3) the Denison Community Association, the College's umbrella organization for student volunteer service, will kick off its semester-long project to build a house in Newark under the auspices of Habitat for Humanity. And on Thursday (Sept. 8) at 11:30 a.m. in the Burton D. Morgan Center lecture hall Scott Russell Sanders, author of "Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World," will be on campus to discuss the modern tendency for people to move away from their homes. As the roster of special events comes together, Denison faculty are planning to incorporate the "home" theme into fall-semester courses where appropriate. Faculty in service-learning, economics, dance, history, sociology and English are among those slated to participate.
Denison University has benefited from McGregor Fund support on previous occasions under the Fund's Program for Private Liberal Arts College and Universities. A grant of $75,000 in 1991 supported faculty and curriculum development, and in 1998 Denison received $100,000 from McGregor for the College's Summer Scholar Program.
The McGregor Fund is a private foundation established in 1925 by gifts from Katherine and Tracy McGregor "to relieve the misfortunes and promote the well-being of mankind." The foundation awards grants to organizations in the following areas: human services, education, health care, arts and culture, and public benefit. The area of principal interest of the foundation is the City of Detroit and Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. The McGregor Fund has granted approximately $150 million since its founding and had assets of $170 million as of June 30, 2004. Visit the McGregor Fund online at www.mcgregorfund.org for additional information.
Denison University, located in, was founded in 1831 and is a privately supported, coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences, offering three different bachelor's degrees (B.A., B.S., and B.F.A.) among more than 40 majors and concentrations. Some 2,000 full-time undergraduate students represent 47 states and 34 foreign countries. Denison is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and is a founding member of the North Coast Athletic Conference (N.C.A.C.). Denison's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1910. Dale T. Knobel is Denison's 19th president.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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