Wellesley Receives $8 Million Gift to Support
Up-and-Coming Scholars

For immediate release:
November 4, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Sidney Knafel, a longtime trustee and generous supporter of Wellesley College, believes that an exceptional faculty of teacher-scholars, is one of the College’s greatest strengths. “Wellesley must be equipped to continue to attract the very finest talent at the early stage of a career,” he explains. “I should like to enrich Wellesley’s ability to accomplish this.”

To help tackle this challenge, Knafel has made a generous and innovative $8 million gift to establish four new assistant professorships: the Knafel Assistant Professorships in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences, as well as the Diana Chapman Walsh Assistant Professorship, filled at the discretion of the president. The chairs will provide salaries for the holders as well as supplemental funds to support research, related equipment and travel.

“This is such an extraordinary gift,” says President Diana Chapman Walsh, “the kind of creative philanthropy that comes out of sophisticated and appreciative knowledge of the College’s strengths and long-term needs. It will further our academic excellence by helping us attract the very best junior faculty in the world, and it will be a self-renewing resource, with the chairs reopening as junior faculty move on in the ranks. Because the professorships are broadly defined, they will give us flexibility to respond quickly to changes in academic disciplines. I am deeply honored and touched to have my name linked to Sid Knafel’s in this very special way.”

“There’s no more essential element to maintain excellence at Wellesley than hiring the very best faculty,” notes Dean of the College Andrew Shennan. “Since we compete with the finest academic institutions for top-notch faculty, it can be a challenge to attract young scholars who also share Wellesley’s emphasis on teaching and mentoring undergraduate students.” The College hopes to hire one or two Knafel assistant professors this spring, with the remaining appointments to be made in the near future.

“I believe this initiative will have a dramatic, permanent impact on the already high quality of the Wellesley faculty,” says Knafel, managing partner of a private investment and venture capital firm who holds leadership positions in Wellesley’s fundraising campaign and whose late wife was a member of Wellesley’s Class of 1952. “I have immense delight in providing support for this task.”

Knafel’s gift is part of The Wellesley Campaign, the College’s five-year effort to raise $400 million to preserve and enhance its preeminence in higher education. Now in the campaign’s final year, the College has raised nearly $392 million towards its goal.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.