Rutgers Philosophy Department Gets Two Big Donations

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers University's Philosophy Department, on the the school's most highly-regarded departments, will be receiving two gifts totalling $3 million to fund an an endowed chair for the department.

"The University will use the chair to attracted another distinguished philosopher to the department," says a University press release.

$1.5 million was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the other $1.5 million by an anonymous donor. 

The $1.5 million provided by the anonymous donor was part of a larger $27 million that this same donor has been providing to the University since 2011 to bring other top professors to the University.

James Masschaele, the Acting Vice-Dean of Humanities at Rutgers, has said that the philosophy department hopes to bring in and finalize the placement of this new chair by the 2015/2016 academic year. 

"The holder of the Andrew w. Mellon Chair in Philosophy will add luster to the School of Arts and Sciences", said Richard Falk, acting executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

"The scholar who occupies the Andrew W. Mellon Chair will be among the very best," said University President Robert Barchi.

"[The donation] is one of the many initiatives that will enable our university to maintain outstanding research and instruction in the humanities", the University President further added. 

As part of the "Our Rutgers, Our Future" fundraising campaign, Rutgers hoped to create 18 new endowed chairs, and this marks the eleventh such success. 

From 2004-2006, the Rutgers philosophy department was ranked second in the Philosophical Gourmet's report on philosophy programs, placing ahead of Princeton and Oxford, and behind NYU. 

Jeff King, the chairman of the Philosophy Department, said the endowment was a historic first for the renowned department.

"This is the first endowed chair we've had. We're a public university and we're competing against a lot of elite private universities with huge endowments."

This endowment will be the most recent of a long record of help by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

So far, the Mellon Foundation has provided approximately $13 million in donations to fund humanities projects including support for the Department of English and various exhibitions at the Zimmerli Art Museum.