UConn Human Rights program receives large donation

UConn alum Gary Gladstein, in conjunction with philanthropist George Soros, have donated $4 million to the Human Rights Institute. This will be the largest donation this program has ever received. This donation is requiring the UConn Foundation to raise $2 million to match the $2 million donated by George Soros to give the institute a $6 million endowment. 

This donation comes from a more personally motivated Soros, who had previously lived under two brutal regimes: the Nazis and then Soviet rule shortly after. He said he feels this type of donation is necessary for the institute to procure resources for the undergraduates and graduate students enrolled in the program.

The Human Rights Institute holds 80 undergraduate students majoring in Human Rights and 55 undergraduates minoring. It also has 35 graduate certificate participants. This is the largest number of undergraduates studying human rights within the United States according to our news reporter, Richard Monroy. Many of the alum have gone on to renowned humanitarian positions.

Gladstein attributes his awareness of human rights and the importance of these institutions to Soros. When he brought the idea of a joint donation to UConn to Soros, he did not hesitate.

The size of this donation is more commonly seen at private institutions. However, according to the Hartford Courant, this is one of several seven-figure donations seen since July 1. This brought UConn’s endowment up to $380 million. According to Brian Otis, the vice president for development at the UConn Foundation, the end-game target is $1 billion.

A public university receiving endowments at a caliber typically seen at private institutions will help provide similar resources to passionate students who were unable to go to private institutions. This money will be used for notable speakers, educators, and to provide internship opportunities to students who are interested in pursuing a career in humanitarian efforts.

In light of recent events, there are many sociopolitical and environmental issues in the world currently infringing on basic human rights. The work force needs to see a growth in order to stimulate change without resources being spread thin throughout areas of increasing unrest.

These types of endowments are necessary in a time where we may be seeing an over-emphasis on STEM majors. With new infrastructure and programs receiving ample funding, the social sciences are being overlooked.

The Psychology Department has been renamed the Department of Psychological Sciences. According to UConn’s Undergraduate Psychological Sciences website, this is in order to reflect their interdisciplinary, scientific research which places them among the STEM disciplines.