by Richard E. Miller

Rutgers English has a special relationship with the Mellon Foundation. None of the research and writing projects that the foundation makes possible for our students through its generous funding takes place at their headquarters in New York City. The dissertation seminar on “Problems in Historical Interpretation” taught by Michael McKeon, now in its third year and funded by the Mellon Foundation, takes place in Murray Hall. The writing that seminar participants produce gets generated in libraries, coffee shops, and apartments in Philadelphia, New York City, the boroughs, and all points in between.

Can one learn without traveling? For the past four years, the Mellon Foundation has funded the department’s Future Traditions Project, which has included research monies for advanced graduate students to conduct research and writing during the summer months. These funds have made it possible for graduate students to move beyond the walls of the classroom to study Latin in Rome or French at Middlebury College; to visit the British Library or university archives in Indiana, Texas, and California; and to attend summer seminars at Cornell University or Dartmouth College.

This year, the Mellon Foundation has provided the School of Arts and Sciences with nearly $3 million to support travel and dissertation writing across the humanities. Where our own graduate students will go during the summer with this support is open. Perhaps to the Dickens Universe Conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz; the Digital Media and Composition Seminar at The University of Ohio; or to archives in Boston, Ann Arbor, or Los Angeles. By sustaining this support, the Mellon Foundation continues to make it possible for our graduate students to answer the call of their own research.