NEW YORK, NY 10021
(212) 838-8400

Hanna H. Gray

[Hanna Gray]

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced today two special grants totaling $4,500,000 in honor of Hanna Holborn Gray, who has just retired as chairman of its Board of Trustees after having served as a Board member for 23 years. The two grants will establish endowments in Mrs. Gray's honor; one at the University of Chicago and the other at Bryn Mawr College. William G. Bowen, President of the Mellon Foundation, said, "these two grants reflect the Foundation's continuing commitment to support the nation's leading research universities and liberal arts colleges. They are intended to recognize and perpetuate the exacting standards that Dr. Gray exemplifies, while paying tribute to the extraordinary impact she has had on both institutions, as well as on this Foundation."

The grant of $3 million made to the University of Chicago, where Mrs. Gray served as President from 1978 to 1993 and has taught for more than 35 years, will establish the Hanna Holborn Gray Advanced Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences. The Gray Fellowships will support outstanding graduate students at the University during the later stage of their studies, and enable them to focus fully on dissertation research and writing. One fellowship will be awarded each year in the Division of the Humanities and another in departments of the Division of the Social Sciences that adopt a humanistic approach to scholarship.

"In honoring Hanna Gray in this way, the Mellon Foundation has very generously and very thoughtfully honored one of the most significant figures in American higher education," said Don Randel, President of the University of Chicago. "Support for graduate students and their programs has always been among her highest priorities, and it remains one of the highest priorities at the University of Chicago. The University is therefore extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation for this grant and to Mrs. Gray for her distinguished service."

The grant of $1.5 million to Bryn Mawr College will be used to create the Hanna Holborn Gray Undergraduate Research Program in the Humanities, which will enlarge substantially Bryn Mawr's ability to support independent scholarly work by undergraduates. As currently envisioned, the program would have several components. It would make available, on a competitive basis, three kinds of awards: summer stipends for students about to enter their senior year who are writing senior honors theses in the humanities and humanistic social sciences; stipends for rising juniors who are prepared to undertake a summer-long research project on an appropriate topic; and funding for students working on theses whose research would benefit from visits during the school year to archives, museums, galleries, libraries, and conferences. Bryn Mawr will also use its grant to organize two short introductory courses on research methods for students beginning honors theses in the humanities and the social sciences, respectively. Faculty members and library staff would lead these three-day intensive courses.

"We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for celebrating Hanna's pioneering career in higher education with these two grants," said Nancy Vickers, President of Bryn Mawr College. "The undergraduate research program the Foundation is establishing in her name at Bryn Mawr is a powerful vote of confidence in the intellectual contributions our students will make in the years ahead. I cannot think of a better way to acknowledge Hanna's long association with the College, as student, faculty member, trustee, and chairman of the Board."

"The Trustees of the Foundation," President Bowen said, "are delighted to honor our distinguished colleague and friend, Hanna Gray, in this most appropriate way. Associating her name with these programs of support for outstanding graduate and undergraduate students in the humanities is a fitting recognition of her lifetime of service to these two outstanding institutions and to all of higher education."

Mrs. Gray is an historian with special interests in the history of humanism, political and historical thought, and politics in the Renaissance and the Reformation. She taught history at the University of Chicago from 1961 to 1972, served as president of the University from 1978 to 1993, and is now the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor of History Emeritus.

Born in Heidelberg, Germany, she received her AB degree from Bryn Mawr in 1950 and her PhD in history from Harvard University in 1957. From 1950 to 1952, she was a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University.

Mrs. Gray was an instructor at Bryn Mawr in 1953-54 and taught at Harvard from 1955 to 1960. In 1961, she was appointed to an assistant professorship in the department of history at the University of Chicago and in 1964, became an Associate Professor, having been a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard the previous year. Mrs. Gray was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history at Northwestern University in 1972. In 1974, she was elected Provost of Yale University with an appointment as professor of history. From 1977 to 1978, she served also as acting President of Yale.

She has been a Fellow of the Newberry Library, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. She is also an Honorary Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. In addition, Mrs. Gray holds honorary degrees from over 60 colleges and universities, including Oxford, Yale, Harvard, the University of Chicago, Brown, Columbia, Princeton, Duke and the Universities of Michigan and Toronto. In 1997, Mrs. Gray received the M. Carey Thomas Award, Bryn Mawr College's highest honor.

In addition to serving as a trustee of the Mellon Foundation, Mrs. Gray has also been on the Boards of Bryn Mawr College, the University of Chicago, and Yale University. She continues to serve as a Board member of the Harvard University Corporation and the Marlboro School of Music, and on the Board of Regents of The Smithsonian Institution. She currently chairs the Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Mrs. Gray was one of 12 distinguished foreign-born Americans to receive a Medal of Liberty Award from President Reagan at ceremonies marking the rekindling of the Statue of Liberty's lamp in 1986. In 1991, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, from President Bush. She received both the Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the Jefferson Medal from the American Philosophical Society in 1993.

Contact: Patricia L. Irvin
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation