Bard College Receives $50 Million Gift in Support of Indigenous Studies

Bard College has received a “transformational” $25 million gift from the Gochman Family Foundation and a matching gift of $25 million from George Soros and the Open Society Foundations. The money will be used to fund a Center for Indigenous Studies along with faculty appointments and student scholarships. As well, the college’s American Studies Program will be renamed the American and Indigenous Studies Program to “more fully reflect continental history,” according to a Bard press release, and to center Native American and Indigenous Studies in the school’s curriculum. A chair for a distinguished scholar of the newly rechristened program will be established.

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Gochman Family Foundation for this generous endowment gift to support Native American and Indigenous studies in undergraduate and graduate academic programs,” said Bard College president Leon Botstein. “This is a fantastic contribution to the study of America, vital to a liberal arts education offering a broader understanding of the country.”

The efforts are aimed at helping the college attract students from historically underrepresented backgrounds including those from Native American and Indigenous communities, and were developed in partnership with the Taghkanic, New York–based Forge Project, which is led by executive director and chief curator Candice Hopkins (Carcross/Tagish First Nation). Hopkins will join the college’s faculty as the inaugural Indigenous Curatorial Fellow at the school’s Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard), where she will assist in the development of dedicated programming and in the selection of visiting scholars and of acquisitions for the college’s library and archives. To inaugurate the gift, she will curate a major exhibition in 2023 themed around the development of contemporary Native art. Additionally, Hopkins will teach one course per year that examines, through Forge’s expanding collection, the continually changing narrative of Native and Indigenous art history.

“I’m honored to work with Candice Hopkins and Bard to support Indigenous students’ ability to attend the college, and make possible the broader institutional transformation that will have an impact not just in the immediate term, but for generations of students, faculty, and staff to come,” said Forge Project cofounder Becky Gochman. 


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