History of the Wolfe Institute

The institute had its origin in a 1972 planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which recommended that the college’s new School of Humanities and its dean, Professor Ethyle R. Wolfe, develop a humanities institute. Elements of such an institute came into being during the 1970s: A monthly Humanities Colloquium and an Artist as Humanities Series were both successful innovations during this period. In 1980, the college’s new president, Robert L. Hess, recognized that a humanities institute would be able to fill some of the role of the then-defunct School of Humanities. The institute’s role has evolved since that time in response to the needs of the campus. It has often designed programs in support of the college’s innovative Core Curriculum. Indeed, it has developed programs in collaboration with many of the academic departments and programs on Brooklyn’s large and diverse campus.

In 1989, with the retirement of Provost Ethyle R. Wolfe, the college renamed the institute in her honor and gave it the new responsibility of the faculty fellowship program and of working with the Honors Academy. Over the years, the institute has attracted support from many funding agents, among them the Mellon Foundation, the GTE Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kurz Foundation, and the cultural services of several nations. The institute’s programs are a distinctive element of life at Brooklyn College, bringing to the campus leading scholars in many disciplines and providing a forum for debating the intellectual challenges that contemporary thought and culture present.

Brooklyn. All in.