Yale President Benno C. Schmidt Jr. has announced that oil and real estate tycoon Sid R. Bass, a 1965 Yale graduate is planning a $20 million donation to the school targeted at research and teaching in the humanities.
The gift is one of the largest Yale has ever received for studies in the humanities, which, unlike the sciences, rarely attract such large donations.
The gift follows on the heels of another $20 million donation by Bass' brother, Edward P. Bass, aimed at environmental research.
"The humanities help us learn who we are and what we are in the process of becoming," Bass said in a statement released by Yale.
Bass has stipulated that the funds be divided into three parts. The largest portion of the gift, $10 million, will assist the ongoing renovations of two Yale humanities and social sciences buildings.
Another $5 million will go to endow five junior faculty research fellowships in all areas of the humanities. The remaining $5 million will establish a classroom endowment fund for the support of undergraduate teaching facilities, the largest gift of this kind ever received by any university, according to Schmidt.
The massive donation will strengthen humanities research in "an era of unprecedented demands upon American higher education," Schmidt said in a statement.
Unlike the more glamourous natural and social sciences, the humanities usually receive the lowest funding priority and are "underfunded by all agencies," according to Professor Dmitri Gutas, director of graduate studies in Near Eastern languages and civilizations, one of the departments benefitting from the grants.
"The humanities are traditionally important," said Gutas. "They are looked down upon in contemporary society because they are not profit-making."