Vassar Today

Carolyn Grant '36 Endowment Fund

It was Maria Mitchell who, when she took her students on a scholarly excursion to Iowa where they could observe an eclipse of the sun in 1869, set a precedent for Vassar faculty members — to be innovative, creative, and unafraid of experimentation in the classroom. To help current and future faculty continue in that vein Carolyn Grant Fay ’36 has given the college a $1 million gift to establish the Carolyn Grant ’36 Endowment Fund for the study of the human imagination and the expressive arts.

Through the fund, members of the Vassar community will be able to pursue training or collaborate with others to find ways to integrate more experiential processes and embodied learning into the lives of students, faculty, and professional staff, both within and outside the classroom walls.

The ways in which a grant recipient might use the money are limited only by his or her imagination, but might include art students learning about Asian art by participating in a ritual tea ceremony, or a movement or dance class exploring the philosophical and psychological study of emotion by examining dance motifs.

Money from the Grant Endowment will also enable prominent practitioners and scholars to come to campus to help faculty and professional staff conduct workshops and activities that will help students link their experiences in and out of the classroom. The first of these visits ocurred when Harvard professor and Guggenheim Fellow Howard Gardner — creator of the theory of multiple intelligences — arrived at Vassar in April. His visit, talk, and participation in a panel discussion served as the community’s official introduction to the Grant Endowment.

Carolyn Grant is the cofounder of the C.G. Jung Educational Center in Houston, and the founder of its School of Expressive Arts. She has been a pioneer in the integration of expressive arts therapies and Jungian psychology. For more information about Grant and her work, see the Winter 1998 VQ.