The Fred L. Emerson Foundation of Auburn, N.Y., is providing the grant over a four-year period. In making the award, the foundation stipulated that the college's trustees contribute $330,000 to the project and create, over three years, a $1.5 million endowment to establish a Presidential Fund for Faculty Innovation.
"The Fred L. Emerson Foundation has once again taken a leadership role at an important point in Hamilton's recent history," said President Eugene M. Tobin. "This gift will enable Hamilton to create a curriculum for the 21st century and continue a set of faculty development activities that will distinguish the college nationally."
The Emerson grant provides for the appointment of a senior member of the Hamilton faculty to serve for three years as a director for curricular development. This person will oversee fundamental curricular review efforts and faculty development activities.
A series of faculty workshops designed to improve the teaching of writing and speaking are also funded by the grant, as is a concerted effort to expand opportunities for faculty-student collaborations. Such collaborations, Tobin says, enhance academic rigor and provide a public forum for students to practice the skills they have learned in the classroom. An assessment plan to continually improve the program and to ensure that Hamilton graduates have achieved written and oral proficiencies is also provided for in the Emerson grant.
"We are deeply indebted to the Emerson Foundation, which has been an enormously valued supporter of Hamilton and its programs for nearly 30 years," Tobin said. In addition to the rare book room in the Burke Library, the Emerson Lobby in the Athletic Center and the Emerson Gallery, Tobin said the foundation has created an endowment that each year provides scholarship support for deserving Hamilton students. "The impact of this latest gift will be extraordinary in helping us to achieve our lofty goals for Hamilton," the president added.
The Fred L. Emerson Foundation is a philanthropic organization founded in 1932 by the late president of Dunn and McCarthy Inc., a manufacturer of women's shoes in Auburn, N.Y. It supports private colleges and universities, health programs, and community and social welfare projects.
Hamilton is a highly selective, residential college that offers its 1,650 students a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. It is the third oldest college in New York State and is named in honor of U.S. statesman Alexander Hamilton, a charter trustee of the college's predecessor, the Hamilton-Oneida Academy.