VALHALLA, N.Y. – Westchester Community College has a goal in mind to improve its humanities program, although it’s going to take some serious fundraising to get there. The college recently received a grant that it must double in order to reach its goal of implementing a new Humanities Institute.
“This will be a challenge for us, but we’re up for the challenge,” said college spokesperson Patrick Hennessey.
The college received a $300,000 challenge grant, and must raise an additional $600,000 in order to utilize the money. Hennessey said the college will work this fall with the Westchester Community College Foundation to raise money through private donations. The ultimate goal is to use the nearly $1 million to put the school’s education program in line with the dynamic of its student body.
“There’s a lot of diversity here in terms of our student body,” Hennessey said. “So we’re trying to recognize that by expanding the humanities and broadening things.”
The purpose of the new Humanities Institute will be to host conferences, speakers, film series and other cultural events. English Professor Heather Ostman, who obtained the grant with fellow Professor Frank Madden, said the new institute will advance the current humanities program.
“The institute will shift and expand the study of the humanities from a traditional, western perspective to a multicultural lens in order to promote global understanding,” Ostman said.
Hennessey added that the humanities program is one of the most popular among students.
“A lot of students take humanities or liberal arts courses here to finish up their two years before they move on to a four-year school,” Hennessey said.
If the fundraising is successful, the Humanities Institute will be run out of the new $40 million Gateway Center on campus, which was also primarily funded through the Westchester Community College Foundation, Hennessey said.