In a move that promises to boost innovative programs and creative research in the discipline he once studied at UC Santa Barbara, alumnus John Arnhold ('75), with wife Jody, has pledged $1.75 million to the campus's Department of English. The gift will support existing initiatives and establish the Arnhold Endowment for Excellence in English, designed to fund courses, projects, and programs that support the undergraduate research experience, graduate student training, postdoctoral teaching fellows, and curricular advancements.
"This visionary gift from alumnus John Arnhold and his wife, Jody, will help to further strengthen our nationally renowned Department of English, and is a testament to the quality of education provided by our outstanding faculty," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "Our campus is grateful to the Arnholds for this gift and for their longtime support of initiatives that help to provide both graduate and undergraduate students with vital research and educational opportunities. The Arnhold Endowment for Excellence is a wonderful model of philanthropy in the humanities, and we deeply appreciate John's leadership and dedication on our New York campaign committee and as a Foundation trustee."
Arnhold is the chairman and chief investment officer of New York-based asset-management firm First Eagle Investment Management. He is a member of the New York committee of the Campaign for UC Santa Barbara, and an incoming UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustee. The Arnholds are generous benefactors of his alma mater, giving to both the English and dance programs in recent years.
"I was inspired by several professors at UCSB who enhanced my love for literature, the beauty of the written word, and their creative inspiration from which we may draw," John Arnhold said. "With this gift, Jody and I hope to provide opportunities for the UCSB community to maintain a strong focus on the humanities."
Since 2005, the Arnholds' gifts to the English department have supported a series of interrelated departmental initiatives. Built upon the strengths and synergies of the department's innovative curriculum and research centers, these programs include Arnhold Undergraduate Research Fellows, Arnhold Faculty Research and Teaching Fellows, and Arnhold Graduate Fellows.
"The UC Santa Barbara English Department is a national model, known for its integration of departmental research centers, undergraduate education, and graduate student training," said David Marshall, UCSB's Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts. "The suite of programs funded by the Arnholds have had a transformative effect, directly impacting hundreds of undergraduate students and enhancing the quality of the intellectual community for both students and faculty. I am thrilled that this new endowment will allow the department to continue its tradition of innovation in research and teaching."
With an eye toward enhancing its core major –– the largest in the humanities –– the department will use the Arnholds' gift for an array of endeavors that may include a series of small seminars and collaborative project classes; new pedagogical formats and instructional technologies; competitively awarded teaching fellowships for graduate students; and special research funds for undergraduates.
"What's so crucial about such funding is that it gives programs the flexibility to innovate and do things for the students, faculty and staff that they would not be able to do otherwise –– it's hard to overestimate how important that is," said Alan Liu, a UCSB English professor who chaired the department from 2008 until June 30, 2012. "It's crucial to retaining people in the department, at the faculty and graduate level, and to bringing in bright students to the undergrad program. You need to give them opportunities to grow in new directions and these kinds of gifts allow us to do that."
The generosity of philanthropists like the Arnholds makes it possible for departments to enhance the educational experience of students, despite reductions in state contributions to the university. For the past three years, the Arnholds have also supported UCSB dance students participating in the 92nd Street Y Summer Intensive Dance program in New York City. In January 2013, they will sponsor a weeklong residency on campus, and in the Santa Barbara community, for New York-based Ballet Hispanico.