Donors Fully Fund a New Faculty Chair in Asian American Studies
Seventy-two generous supporters who pledged to contribute $1,214,075 have fully funded a new faculty chair in Asian American Studies. This endowed chair represents the third academic endowed chair established through the School’s “Together We Shine” campaign, which began in July 2015. More than $14,000 over the original $1.2 million goal, the additional amount and any future gifts will be used to support the chair’s associated programming.
“At first, the idea of raising $1.2 million was daunting but it became feasible when the big number was broken up into small successes,” says Zhensen Huang P ’26, ’28 who was instrumental in the effort. “We are proud to be part of the process where Sidwell Friends is demonstrating real leadership by establishing this and the other endowed cultural chairs.”
“We immediately felt like we belonged and were part of the Sidwell Friends community when we joined. We always knew there would be a moment when we would ask ourselves, ‘what can we do to contribute to this great community?’ Giving to this chair felt like just the project for us to do something more.”
Huang says he also appreciates that the success was a real community effort. “No one single individual made the chair happen. It took many people in the community stepping forward.”
“We are thrilled to have the chair fully funded,” says Associate Head of School Min Kim. The new position will be an in-house expert on Asian American Studies, someone who serves as a resource not only to students, but to faculty and the broader Sidwell Friends community. “The new chair, along with the Señora Guillermina Medrano de Supervía Endowed Chair for Spanish and Latin American Studies and the African and African American Studies chair, will help us plan School-wide and division-specific programs, curricula, as well as providing professional development for other teachers.” The inaugural chair in Asian American Studies will be appointed in time for the 2024-2025 academic year. Once the faculty member is in place, curriculum development will begin.
Sidwell Friends is the only known independent school with three endowed cultural chairs. It’s an approach that enables the School to build programs that tie directly to its Quaker values and to permanently support sustained Equity, Justice, and Community practices. Endowing these and other positions such as athletic director and director of Equity, Justice, and Community removes reliance on tuition revenue and ensures that gifted teachers and professionals with deep expertise in these fields are always members of the faculty and available to students, peers, and parents.
“Fully funding this chair is a huge milestone,” says Huang. “And yet, it is only one of the great things happening at Sidwell Friends. The School is helping to lead the way in the broader world for our kids. When the community comes together you can feel the excitement about all that is happening.”