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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU awarded $450,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a $450,000 challenge grant to New Mexico State University to establish a Southwest and Border Cultures Institute.

The grant is one of 10 challenge grants awarded by the NEH to colleges and universities nationally, for amounts ranging up to $450,000.

Reed Dasenbrock, associate dean and director of NMSU's Arts and Sciences Research Center, said the university will raise an additional $1.35 million to create a total endowment of $1.8 million for the institute.

The Southwest and Border Cultures Institute "will promote humanities research, education and outreach with special emphasis on understanding and maintaining the unique multicultural heritage of our state and region," Dasenbrock said.

He said the institute will bring together the NMSU Library, the University Museum and the departments of history, sociology and anthropology, languages and linguistics, and English for a broad, interdisciplinary focus on the cultures that have converged in the border Southwest.

The endowment will support research and creative activities by faculty and graduate students, acquisition of materials, and public programming activities such as library and museum exhibitions, lecture series and workshops.

"One of the things about our proposal that the NEH found most exciting is the concept of outreach in the humanities as an extension of our land-grant mission," Dasenbrock said. "We see this institute allowing us to move in the direction of cultural extension services to complement the university's traditional agricultural extension services."

Areas of interest will include oral history, folklore, popular culture and historic preservation, he said. "Outreach to the community and involvement of the community in our activities will be a central theme of the institute's activities."