April 2016

Help UConn Advance Human Rights

Jennifer Doak-Mathewson
Jennifer Doak-Mathewson

2 min read

“The true differences around the world are not between different religions or races, but more about those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it.” – Gary Gladstein ’66

Philanthropist George Soros and UConn alumnus Gary Gladstein ’66 with his wife, Dr. Phyllis Gladstein, announced a $4 million gift to the UConn Human Rights Institute, the largest donation ever received by the internationally recognized program.

As part of the gift, Soros and the Gladsteins challenge you, UConn Nation, to raise another $2 million, which they will then match. Your gift of any size can go further than it would alone—and help propel the world-renowned UConn Human Rights Institute to new heights.

Bring clarity to the human rights issues of our time

Your gift will empower faculty to research the impact of human rights violations at home and around the world. In UConn Today, for example, UConn School of Law Professor Richard Ashby Wilson described the impact of recent rulings from the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal, which tried leaders accused of war crimes during the 1990s Balkans War.

“The verdict [in one of the cases] demonstrates that an international court can hold accountable a former head of state for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and issue a reasoned judgment that reasonably applies international criminal law to the facts of the case,” said Professor Wilson, a founding director of the Human Rights Institute, who is writing a book on the topic.

Show how the past can help shape the future of human rights

Your gift can illuminate how human rights law has shaped the past, affects cultural discourse, and can influence future policy—through projects such as one exploring the use of habeas corpus.

Sarah Winter, an English professor at UConn, is working with the Human Rights Institute to study the use of the writ throughout history and literature.

“It wasn’t just a judicial remedy for unlawful detention, but it also created a legal framework represented in narratives of the time, including literature, that began to give what were understood to be human rights to citizens and non-citizens alike,” said Professor Winter in another recent UConn Today article.

Empower UConn to put ideas into action

Thanks to your support, UConn faculty and students can offer their expertise to those who need it most. For example, a group from the Schools of Law and Social Work spent their spring break offering free legal and psychosocial assistance to female asylum-seekers from Central America being held at a federal immigration detention center in York, Pa.

Join George Soros and the Gladsteins in supporting the UConn Human Rights Institute

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A Grateful Message To An Anonymous Donor

Jennifer Doak-Mathewson
Jennifer Doak-Mathewson

< 1 min read

Dear Anonymous Donor,

Thank you—whoever you are—for kicking off our Centennial like this! We received your $1 million bank check and anonymous letter. We will make sure that it is used exactly as you requested.

It is extraordinarily rare that the University receives a truly anonymous gift of this size—and it will make all the difference. Donors often want their names kept private, but getting an anonymous $1 million bank check in a FedEx with instructions for its use has never happened at the UConn School of Engineering. And this public thank-you is our only hope of reaching you.

We are enormously grateful to you—and everyone who is helping to transform the School of Engineering.

The gift has been used to create the Centennial Engineering Term Professorship, which will recognize six outstanding faculty members.

 

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$5.75 Million Grant to Focus on Improving Public Discourse

Jennifer Doak-Mathewson
Jennifer Doak-Mathewson

< 1 min read

templeton foundation logoThe John Templeton Foundation has awarded $5.75 million to the UConn Humanities Institute for research on balancing humility and conviction in public life.

The grant is the largest for the humanities ever awarded to UConn, and is one of the largest humanities-based research grants ever awarded in the United States.

“As this presidential campaign is constantly reminding us, real political dialogue — and any sense of intellectual humility — seems to have gone missing in American politics. But we can’t just blame that on politicians or those on the other side of the aisle; we need to look at what it is about culture, psychology, and the human condition that has led us to this point,” says the project’s principal investigator Michael P. Lynch, a professor of philosophy and director of the Humanities Institute. “We want to know the underlying causes of our dramatic breakdown in open dialogue and how to fix it.”

Lynch says the grant will provide an unprecedented integration of research from the humanities and sciences, as well as extending and applying research developed by previous projects on intellectual humility and related concepts funded by Templeton.

 

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Florida Real Estate Investor Donates Scholarship

Grace Merritt
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Like many UConn finance majors, Jeffrey R. Talbot ’00 (BUS) followed his dream after graduation of working on Wall Street. He became a successful investment banker at Morgan Stanley in New York, but soon realized his passion was actually real estate investment.

He liked the entrepreneurial nature of real estate investment, the sense that he could create something for himself. He wanted to work for a smaller company where he could map his own destiny.

He landed a job in Miami, where his real estate career took off. He later became a principal at Insula Companies in Sarasota, Fla., a firm that buys, renovates, and manages apartment communities around Florida. In just five years, he acquired and sold more than 4,800 units worth $325 million.

Hoping to give back to UConn for giving him a strong grounding in his business, Talbot recently decided to endow a scholarship at the School of Business.

“I wanted to give an opportunity to a promising student, someone who can realize his or her potential and hopefully become a good member of the university community as well,” he said. “So many students really thrive at UConn. I think you just need to give that person a chance.”

Talbot grew up in Manchester, Conn., where his father and grandfather ran a local ambulance service and used some of their proceeds to invest in real estate in the area. Those investments helped pay his college tuition.

“The Talbot Family Scholarship Fund is a way to honor and say thanks to my father and grandfather,” he said.

An honors student, Talbot was on the first undergraduate team selected to run UConn’s Student Managed Fund in 2000. The fund allows teams of students to invest a total of $1 million of the UConn Foundation’s endowment. Each year, an undergraduate and a graduate team compete with each other to see who can raise the most money in real investments portfolios. The experiential learning initiative enables students to learn how to invest as well as manage and understand the workings of a business.

“It was fun. I always find that the best learning occurred within a smaller group of bright, motivated peers where there was a little competition but also collaboration,” said Talbot, who remembers that the internet stocks were doing really well at the time, but collapsed around the time that they graduated.

“The students who run it now I’m sure have gotten far more disciplined and hopefully improved our performance,” he said. “I remember it being a really cool thing to talk about on my resume when I was looking for jobs.”

School of Business Dean John A. Elliott said he is grateful for Talbot’s generosity.

“I had the pleasure of meeting him recently and am delighted at his success and his appreciation for his experiences at UConn,” Elliott said. “Because of Jeff’s generosity, another business student will also have the opportunity for a life-changing education at UConn. The tradition of giving back is becoming part of the fabric or our community and Jeff is another leader in this effort.”

 

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