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Morgan Receives $500,000 Mellon Foundation Grant

– Award will be used to establish MSU’s Quarles Institute –

Morgan State University (MSU) President David Wilson today announced a $500,000 grant to the University from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The award, over a three-year period, will be used to support the establishment of the Benjamin A. Quarles Humanities and Social Sciences Institute within Morgan’s College of Liberal Arts.

“The Humanities and Social Sciences are the core of innovation, creativity and understanding of the human condition. These are the disciplines that give rise to critical thinking and they must always be strong on our campuses,” said Morgan President David Wilson. “The Mellon investment in Morgan, which is, to our knowledge, the first public HBCU it has supported in this way, will ensure that we continue to tackle those issues in our society that stretch our minds, challenge our biases and broaden our perspectives on the issues so essential to our nation’s vitality and competitiveness. Through the Benjamin Quarles Institute, we are raising our hand and saying ‘yes’ to taking a leadership role in preparing the next generation of diverse scholars in these critical disciplines.”

The vision of the Quarles Institute is to increase the enrollment, retention and graduation of undergraduate students majoring in the humanities and social sciences disciplines who go on to enter graduate programs.

“The Institute will focus on students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” says Dr. Pamela Scott-Johnson, dean of MSU’s College of Liberal Arts. “And we will also focus on increasing the number of African American faculty and faculty of African descent who are engaged in scholarly research and teaching humanities and social sciences on Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campuses.”

The concept is intended to raise awareness of and appreciation for peoples and cultures of the African Diaspora and their intersections with the global community and to expose under-represented and underserved students to the interdisciplinary nature of the humanities at Morgan. The Institute will combine several disciplines within the College of Liberal Arts, including Women and Gender Studies, Environmental Studies and International Studies (African, Latin America and Caribbean) as well as Ethnomusicology, Philosophy, and Fine Arts among others.

The Quarles Institute, a cultural, intellectual and academic center, is to be named for Dr. Benjamin A. Quarles, a nationally recognized historian. Known as an educator, writer and scholar of African American history, Dr. Quarles spent 40 years as a faculty member at Morgan State University. He taught that African American history is an integral part of America’s story. Through the creation of the Quarles Institute, Morgan hopes to enhance the wealth of information available to those interesting in learning more about the African American experience and the African Diaspora.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a New York-based not-for-profit corporation formed in 1969, endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well being of diverse and democratic societies.  To this end, we support exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. For more information on the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation visit

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie classified doctoral research institution offering more than 60 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. As Maryland’s public urban university, Morgan serves a multi-ethnic and multi-racial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information on Morgan State University, visit

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Media Contact(s):
Clint Coleman or Larry Jones

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