Philanthropist Elizabeth Grass Weese and her brother, Roger Grass, committed $10 million to advance humanities scholarship and teaching at the Johns Hopkins University and to promote literature, art, philosophy, history, and other cultural studies in Baltimore and the wider community.
Their gift, through the Alexander Grass Foundation, is the largest ever to Johns Hopkins exclusively for the support of the humanities.
It established the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute as a focal point and important sponsor of programming for humanities departments. The institute is named for the donors’ late father, a Pennsylvania businessman and philanthropist and founder in 1962 of what became Rite Aid Corp., now one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains.
The Alexander Grass Humanities Institute aims to advance humanities scholarship and teaching at Johns Hopkins and promote literature, art, philosophy, history, and other cultural studies in Baltimore and the wider community.
The Humanities Institute serves as a focal point of programming for the 13 humanities departments in the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, other departments in humanistic social sciences, and related centers and programs.
Johns Hopkins has a rich history in humanistic studies and is considered the birthplace of modern literary scholarship. In addition, Hopkins was the first in the nation to have a Classics Department and the first in the country to offer a doctoral degree in Near Eastern Studies.
What does the Humanities Institute do?
The Humanities Institute serves as an umbrella for and supports the goals of all of Johns Hopkins’ humanities-related academic departments and programs. It sponsors scholarly meetings as well as public events. The institute also paves the way for faculty members from different departments to work together on innovative projects of mutual interest. The Humanities Institute focuses on these areas:
- Global humanities – examining the differences among cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups, and the importance on non-Western intellectual traditions
- Media and knowledge formation – studying how humans record knowledge, share it, and make it understandable to others
- Aesthetics – exploring how we perceive and understand art
- Public humanities – inviting the broader community to attend humanities-related events and engage with our professors and students
- Fellowships – offering research fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students beginning in 2017
The Alexander Grass Humanities Institute has many giving opportunities. To learn more, email AGHI@jhu.edu.