Clare Boothe Luce Program: Henry R. Luce Foundation, 1987

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



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The Clare Boothe Luce Program was preceded, in 1987, by a fund given by the Henry R. Luce Foundation, named for Clare’s late husband, the publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines. The fund granted two-year visiting professorships to outstanding female scholars at four universities: Yale, Columbia, Brown, and New York University. The fund was created after the Luce Foundation in the mid-1980s conducted a study of women in higher education. The report showed a huge gender gap. Women at the time comprised more than half the nation’s undergraduates and a third of its Ph.D.s, yet they held only 12 percent of all tenured positions at public and private universities. At the most prestigious major research universities, the proportion of all tenured positions held by women was even lower—just 5 percent.
The study and professorships were the Foundation’s first steps, but when Clare Luce died she expanded dramatically the Foundation’s role. Mrs. Luce left $70 million for the Foundation to create—in perpetuity—funds for at least thirteen universities to give undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and “term support for tenure-track appointments at the assistant or associate professorship level.” The awards are made to promising women pursuing careers in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.



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