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History

In 1930, Annie Sinton Taft made a generous $2,000,000 endowment for, "the study and teaching of 'the Humanities' in the College of Liberal Arts and Graduate school of the University of Cincinnati," in honor of her late husband Charles Phelps Taft, "whose interest in the advance of culture and art included an especial interest in the progress of the University of Cincinnati, and a real enthusiasm for those studies which relate to the improvement of the mind than to physical and material betterment." Her particular interest was to “bring about a concentration of interest upon that group of ideas which are generally known as 'The Humanities,' hoping others may be inspired to join in the same work or other work of the University." It was her belief that "there is some danger of a lack of emphasis on the value of thought and conduct and character, and I have therefore confined my gift to 'The Humanities', which are concerned particularly with the development of ideas, of thought and of character."

Between 1930 and 2005, the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund provided monies from the endowment to UC faculty and students, towards the above purpose. In 2005, under the leadership of Richard Harknett, Taft gained an institution presence as the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati. Our mission is to realize the vision of Annie Sinton Taft, funding excellent humanities scholarship in order to expand our minds and the conceivable.

Members of the Taft family continue to serve as trustees of the endowment, ensuring long term security over the fund.

Directors

  • Frank W. Chandler (1930-1944)
  • Robert Shafer (1944-1946)
  • Edwin H. Zeydel (1946-1961)
  • Cedric Boutler (1961-1972)
  • Arnold Schrier (1973-1989)
  • Judy Muyskens (1989-1994)
  • Barbara Ramusack (1994-1998)
  • Chris McCord (1998-2003)
  • Richard Harknett (2003-2008)
  • Jana Evans Braziel (2008-2012)
  • Adrian Parr (2013 - 2018)
  • Amy Lind (2019 - present)

Membership

The Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati offers funding for undergraduate, graduate, & faculty scholarship in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Cincinnati, limited to the following Uptown Campus departments and eligibility conditions:

Taft-eligibility is limited to the following:

  • Undergraduates majoring in a Taft discipline, in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, and including Economics, currently in the Lindner College of Business; or
  • Graduate students in a Taft discipline, in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, and including Economics, currently in the Lindner College of Business; or
  • Tenure-Track faculty as defined in the current UC-AAUP contract, who satisfy the following:
    • Are members of a Taft department in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, or in department of Economics, currently in the Lindner College of Business, where membership in either the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences or the department of Economics shall be determined by the faculty member’s primary bargaining unit appointment; or
    • Hold a joint-appoint, with at least one appointment in a Taft department in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences or in department of Economics, currently in the Lindner College of Business, even where such is a minority-share of the appointment; or
    • Members of the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, that hold a terminal advanced degree in a Taft discipline.
  • Emeritus Faculty that remain active within the University community and historically satisfy one of the above conditions are eligible for Taft awards (excepting fellowships), though they may be given a lower priority.

NOTE: Part-time, non-tenure track faculty, and faculty holding affiliate status are not Taft-eligible.