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First Challenge Grant Awarded to Fordham


neh_demacopoulos_150The Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University has received a prestigious challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

The three-to-one matching grant requires the center to raise $1.5 million, which will be matched by a $500,000 award from the NEH. This sum will create a $2 million endowment to fund to the center’s Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence program and Dissertation Completion Fellowship program.

“The NEH grant is the strongest possible endorsement that the work of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center is unique, valuable, and necessary not simply for Orthodox Christianity or Catholic-Orthodox relations, but for the humanities writ at large,” said Aristotle Papanikolaou, Ph.D., professor of theology and co-founding director of the center.

neh_papanikolaou_150The two programs will provide a unique opportunity for scholars and doctoral students of Orthodox studies. The Scholar-in-Residence program is unprecedented for the discipline, while the Dissertation Completion Fellowship program will become one of only two nationwide.

“Years ago, when we had first started thinking about the center, we realized that we could have the greatest long-term impact by sponsoring research, books, and conferences,” said George Demacopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor of theology and co-founding director of the center. “Now we want to create a space where scholars who are studying Orthodox Christian studies can have access to the resources they need to pursue their scholarship.”

This is the first challenge grant earned by Fordham, which was one of only five institutions nationwide this year to receive the maximum award of $500,000.

“I cannot think of a finer endorsement of Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center than this prestigious NEH grant. The grant speaks volumes about the quality of scholarship produced in the program,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. “In this, much credit is due to George Demacopoulos and Telly Papanikolaou, who have brought tremendous energy and new scholarship to Orthodox Studies at Fordham.”

Founded by the two theology professors in 2007, the Orthodox Christian Studies Center is the first university-based site for Orthodox Christian Studies in the western hemisphere.

“This is great for our center, it’s great for the Department of Theology, and it’s great for the University,” Demacopoulos said. “It reflects Father McShane’s vision that this kind of center is truly important, and that its importance can be recognized outside of church-affiliated institutions.”

– Joanna Klimaski


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