Major Gift Endows a New Center for Black Studies at Harvard

Harvard University has announced the establishment of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. The center was made possible by a $15 million gift from the Hutchins Family Foundation. Glenn Hutchins is the co-founder of the technology investment firm, Silver Lake. He holds three degrees from Harvard University.

gatesThe new center will include the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute and several other new entities including the Afro-Latin American Research Institute, the History Design Studio, and the Program for the Study of Race and Gender in Science and Medicine. Henry Louis Gates Jr., who has led the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for more than 20 years, was named the founding director of the Hutchins Center.

Professor Gates stated, “With this unprecedented gift, we secure our place as the pre-eminent site for research about the African diaspora in the academy. What we have built under the rubric of the Du Bois Institute will continue to grow through the Hutchins Center with even greater global reach, in a way that would have made the public-minded Dr. Du Bois proud.”

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  1. eh, who cares? until they start admitting more african AMERICANS, all of this is just a bunch of empty pomp and circumstance. my question: what has skip gates done (or is currently doing) to get more american blacks admitted to harvard?

  2. Unlike what Caribbean Queen wrote on September 26, I am far more interested in the fruit (what is brought forth into graduate work) than the seed (what is deposited at the entrance)of the Institute. What has been the fruit of the past 20 years of the DuBois Institute been besides the spotlight on Gates? Enrollment is not nearly so critical as GRADUATE — not to be confused with UG commencement — success: scholarship, publication, and other works of intellectual production. If our folk focused more on legacy than celebrity, the Institute would be an entity worth funding. As it stands, it is a monument to Henry Louis Gates — not to be taken lightly, but hardly representative of the range of the talented among us–and little more. One of the sacred texts pronounced it a couple of millennia ago: by their FRUIT shall ye know them.When is the last time that you heard an up and coming public scholar of note observe, “My mentor, Dr. Gates… .”? We won’t even mention his colleague, who is “Living and Loving Out Loud”… .

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