Wesleyan has received gifts totaling $5 million from Terry Huffington, her family and the Huffington Foundation to fund an endowed faculty chair in the College of the Environment and endowed scholarships.
The Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment, created with a $3 million gift from the Foundation, will benefit the nascent College, devoted to the development of environmental knowledge and the exploration of innovative approaches to environmental problems.
A separate $2 million gift establishes endowed scholarships that will support Wesleyan’s need-blind financial aid program.
“Through these very generous gifts, Terry Huffington, her family and the Huffington Foundation have contributed to our highest priorities—curricular innovation and access to a Wesleyan education,” says Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth. “Their support helps Wesleyan maintain its leadership position in liberal arts education and secure its future with a stronger endowment. I am deeply grateful.”
Ms. Huffington P’11, P’14, of Houston, Texas, says that access to education has always been a family priority.
“I was brought up with the mantra that the most important thing you could do for people is to give them an opportunity to get an education. We welcome the opportunity to support Wesleyan’s efforts to enroll students regardless of their economic circumstances,” she says.
The first holder of the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair will be Gary Yohe, a Wesleyan professor of economics renowned for his work on global climate issues. He is a senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He is also a member of the standing Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change of the National Academy of Sciences.
“We are delighted that Dr. Yohe is to be named to the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in the College of the Environment,” says Ms. Huffington. “It is a privilege to support a researcher and educator of his caliber in an area of study that is of such vital importance to our global community.”
The College of the Environment is an interdisciplinary initiative that draws faculty from 18 departments or programs at Wesleyan. Among its innovative features is a think tank, which brings together faculty, prominent scholars from other institutions, and students to produce scholarly works intended to influence thinking and action on environmental issues.
Ms. Huffington, a former geologist, has a long-standing interest in stewardship of energy supplies and achieving a decreased reliance on hydrocarbon fuels. Her interest led her to develop Elkstone Farm in Steamboat Springs, Colo., which features a permaculture greenhouse designed to grow organic produce year-round in a sustainable, energy-efficient manner.