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National Endowment for the Humanities Honors Bentley University’s Commitment to Arts & Sciences with $395,000 Challenge Grant to Build Endowment for New Humanities Programming


National Endowment for the Humanities Honors Bentley University’s Commitment to Arts & Sciences with $395,000 Challenge Grant to Build Endowment for New Humanities Programming

Recognizing Bentley University’s innovative approach to business education by infusing it with a strong liberal arts focus, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded a $395,000 Challenge Grant to the institution to build an endowment for innovative humanities programming, a rare honor for a business school.  The funds will be released proportionate to the required match raised by the university over a five and a half year grant period. 

“It is extremely gratifying for a business institution to receive recognition from one of the most prestigious supporters of education in the humanities.  The NEH has shown an appreciation for our progressive curriculum, leadership, and the general excellence of our faculty,” says Dean of Arts and Sciences Dan Everett.  “This is a marvelous opportunity to take a proactive and long-lasting position on alternative models of higher education in the U.S.  The grant will help further Bentley’s commitment to bring together business and the arts and sciences. There is no better place for the humanities than at a business university.”

According to Chris Beneke, director of the Valente Center for Arts and Sciences at Bentley, the endowment to be established with the help of the NEH Challenge Grant will fund three programs directed by the Valente Center: a research seminar that brings Bentley and non-Bentley humanities scholars together to investigate topics of common interest; a program that welcomes humanities scholars to Bentley for multiday visits with students and faculty; and an intensive reading seminar to give undergraduates and faculty opportunities to rigorously engage great books together.

“These initiatives capitalize on Bentley’s unique ability to shape the education and outlook of business professionals,” says Beneke. “Endowing the center will advance Bentley’s evolution toward creative integration of the humanities into a business university.  The initiatives could potentially provide a national model for making the humanities integral to the education of career-minded students.”

NEH Challenge Grants strengthen the humanities by encouraging non-federal sources of support and helping institutions secure long-term improvements in--and support for--their humanities programs and resources. Recipients are required to match NEH funds on a three-to-one or, in some cases, two-to-one basis.

“Our students understand that while their employers need their technical skills in business disciplines, it is their ability to think creatively and critically and to appreciate the world more broadly that sets them apart, keeping them flexible, competitive and thoughtful throughout their careers,” observes Bentley President Gloria Cordes Larson. “The Valente Center for Arts and Sciences is consistently finding creative ways to present the humanities as essential and relevant at a business university and critical to an effective business education.”

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation


by Meredith Mason  September 12, 2017

U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.



Crain's | November 14, 2017
Huffington Post | November 13, 2017