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Alum's gift honors wife,
creates human rights chair
(April 12, 1999)

A gift from a UConn alumnus will bring prominent scholars to the University to examine issues of human rights.

Gary S. Gladstein of Stamford, who graduated from UConn in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in economics, has given $500,000 to establish The Marsha Lilien Gladstein Visiting Professorship in Human Rights. The gift honors his wife, who died in 1995.

The professorship, created in the College of Liberal Arts and Science, will be a centerpiece to academic programming in human rights at the University, says Ross MacKinnon, dean of the College. "The appointment of this visiting professor would build upon current initiatives, providing a framework to showcase human rights throughout the College, particularly in humanities and social sciences," he says.

"I am very pleased to honor my late wife, Marsha Gladstein, in this way," Gladstein says. "Marsha majored in early elementary education and started her career as a kindergarten teacher in the Bridgeport public school system. Education and human rights were very important to her, and I hope that the Marsha Lilien Gladstein Visiting Professorship in Human Rights will help make a contribution to educating future generations about the importance of human rights. The gift to UConn is very appropriate because it is the place where we met, and the University always had a special place in our hearts," he says.

Each year, for a semester, the University will appoint one renowned scholar, recognized as the Marsha Lilien Gladstein Visiting Professor, to give lectures, teach students, and collaborate with faculty on interdisciplinary research.

"We will have at least one scholar come to the University every year to bring faculty together for research and scholarship associated with human rights," says MacKinnon. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be involved as well, he says.

The position will rotate through several departments, such as history, sociology, philosophy, anthropology and political science. "It will allow us to add new dimensions and new perspectives in many different areas," MacKinnon says.

The professorship will "provide UConn the flexibility to offer courses not taught by our faculty, to provide seminars on areas of groundbreaking study and to complement existing faculty expertise," he says.

The scholar will also provide outreach programming for area K-12 schools while in residence at the University. "Marsha had a deep and abiding interest in young children and the opportunities afforded them by a good education," says Gladstein.

MacKinnon is now organizing an interdisciplinary committee that will implement the program for next year.

He says areas of immediate focus may include racial and/or ethnic discrimination in the United States, South African apartheid, the effects of totalitarian regimes, and child labor abuse.

The gift was made through the SGM Scholarship Foundation, which was established exclusively to handle gifts made in memory of Marsha Gladstein. Gary Gladstein is a managing director of Soros Fund Management LLC, a private investment managment firm that serves as principal investment advisor to the Quantum Group of Funds.

The gift is eligible for a match under UConn 2000 legislation, bringing the total of the gift to $750,000.

Sherry Fisher