The UR community embraced the Humanities Project when it was first introduced to the student body in Fall 2006. The accomplishments of the Humanities Project should inspire UR President Joel Seligman to work with other administrators to adopt a permanent institution at UR, so that the intellectual exchange facilitated among current students can be shared with future student bodies.

Last year’s programs proved to be a successful start to the initiative, prompting Seligman to grant more money to the Project and extend it to last the length of his presidency. This year, the Humanities Project is funding such ventures as Politics and Media Constructions: Anticipating the 2008 Election, which recently hosted Thomas DeFrank, a respected intellectual on presidential politics. The event produced a packed crowd, with many students standing for the duration of DeFrank’s talk. Combined attendance to all Humanities Project funded events in its first year is reported to be at least 4,000 people.

In order to maintain the successes of the Humanities Project, the University should seek to create an enduring institution along the likes of those at Cornell University and SUNY Buffalo. UR should follow suit in offering fellowships to those interested in contributing to the Humanities through research and education, in addition to inviting prominent speakers. A permanent institution would allow UR to secure the funding and staff to organize such developments and would give the Project an opportunity to publicize its efforts in a manner befitting such a qualified program.

The first step for UR is to introduce a full-time staff for the Humanities Project. The burden of management would be lifted from overworked faculty, and the new staff can work to transform the Project from a temporary endeavor to a lasting influence. If the prospect of a permanent Humanities Institution is to become a reality, UR should seize this opportunity to build on the achievements of an already appreciated program.

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Editor’s Note (5/4/24): This article is no longer being updated. For our most up to date coverage, look for articles…