Welcome to the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities
Founded in 2004 with a generous gift from Wellesley alumna Suzy Newhouse ’55, the Suzy Newhouse Center supports the work of Wellesley’s humanities faculty and students in fellowships, symposia, projects, special classes, public humanities projects, events and collaborations with our consortium members (NEHC). We run a fellows’ residency program, a summer program for Wellesley faculty, and we host the Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Professor each year, as well as hold the annual Betsy Turner Jordan ’59 lecture. Our policies and selection process are collaborative, the result of a generous donation of time from members of our Advisory Board.
Our mission is to build a vibrant and inclusive humanities research and programming hub at the College through the fellows’ program, through teaching initiatives, and in innovative programming that expands from the classroom out into the community. We support Wellesley faculty in all phases of their careers, providing a space to think and write in the middle of demanding professional lives, and we advocate passionately for the ways that the humanistic disciplines enrich human life, open human minds, and contribute to a more nuanced and empathic understanding of global issues.
Community Guidelines: Affirming an ethos of increasing interdepence, centering community, and learning together.
The Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities is an inclusive place for faculty, staff, students, and visiting fellows to gather in community for lively discussion, research, and learning about the topics that matter most to us. We are committed to supporting visionary work in the humanities that centers interdisciplinarity, collaboration, creativity, joy, and wonder. We honor our own and our communities’ transformations and we affirm one another’s growth and development. We expect all community members to adhere to our shared values and respect the differences that make us a rich and diverse community.
Learning in community is crucial for our development as thinkers and human beings. It means we learn to see ideas, not just through our own singular and limited perspectives, but to see how different experiences create multiple ways of thinking about the world, of comprehending and applying ideas. We recognize that all of us have proximity—or lived experiences—with our research that adds ways of knowing that go beyond simply scholarly knowledge. Such recognition offers us the opportunity to grow our ideas in collaboration with others. Learning in community helps us see how our own ideas can transform over time and helps us honor the differences in our individual and collective histories.
As we embrace being part of a community that fosters understanding and develops visions for change, we cultivate a sense of belonging in the spaces of learning we create. When we imagine together, we can think critically and creatively about structures of power, and develop more inclusive approaches to embracing methodologies rooted in equity.
At the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities, we strive for radical change, platform radical possibilities, and dream of radical futures. As a community, the most radical act we can perform is to continuously evolve our ideas as we learn from each other.
[Adapted from adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy, AK Press, 2017]
The Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities is an inclusive place for faculty, staff, students, and visiting fellows to come together in community for lively discussion, research, and learning about the topics that matter most to us. We are committed to supporting visionary work in the humanities that centers interdisciplinarity, collaboration, creativity, joy, and wonder. Our programming reflects our commitment to providing a platform for artists, writers, and creators who inspire an examination of our worldview through their work. We invite faculty, staff, and students from across the College who wish to pursue humanities-focused projects to collaborate with us.
As we begin our leadership of the Newhouse, we look forward to a year of celebration. In 2024 we mark the twentieth anniversary of the gift from Susan (Suzy) Marley Newhouse ’55 and Donald Newhouse that established the Center. In recognition of this transformative gift, we are hosting a series of events that showcase the innovation, imagination, and influence of the humanities in Wellesley’s past and present, and its role in our futures.
Director, Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities
Associate Professor of American Studies
Director, Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities
Associate Professor of Philosophy
“Wellesley nurtures. I had a sheltered early life and found Wellesley’s boundless offerings and small classes forced personal growth, while the exposure to women, thinking women, talking women, excited women from every state and many foreign countries, expanded my horizons… Wellesley gives us hope for future generations.”—Susan Marley Newhouse ’55
In 2004, a gift from Susan (Suzy) Marley Newhouse ’55 and Donald Newhouse established the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College to promote innovative, imaginative, and influential research in the humanities. Throughout her life, Suzy was known for her dedication to public service and the arts. In addition to her lifelong commitment to Wellesley, this dedication extended to her work as a trustee for the New York Public Library and Lincoln Center Theatre, among others. She was also the longtime chairwoman of the Fresh Air Fund. Suzy’s work touched many communities, and she is especially cherished at Wellesley; it comes as no surprise, then, that many in the Wellesley community refer to the Suzy Newhouse Center simply as “The Suzy.”
Suzy Cooper Marley graduates from Wellesley College with a B.A. in English. A week later, she marries Donald Edward Newhouse in Syracuse, New York. While at Wellesley, Suzy lived in Tower Court and focused her studies on the arts, languages, and humanities.
Shortly after graduating, Suzy joins the board of the New York Wellesley Club. Later, she becomes director and serves on the Board until 1963. Relationships from Wellesley played an important role throughout her life, especially the loyal friends dating back to her college days, who continued to “enrich her life in special ways.”
Suzy co-founds the National Dance Institute (NDI), an organization that combined her love of dance with her passions for children’s education and enriching her community. In its first 40 years, the NDI impacted over 2 million children worldwide.
Suzy becomes a trustee of Wellesley College, serving until 2007. In addition to her charming presence and deep appreciation of good chocolate (which she always generously shared with others), Suzy was known as a stalwart on the Landscape & Buildings Committee, Student Life Committee, and the Trustee-Faculty Relations Committee. Of her Board tenure, Suzy remarked, “I have enjoyed the experience and the challenges facing higher education in America. There is great nostalgia in visiting Wellesley often, and getting to know students and faculty is a delight.”
In addition to generous gifts in support of financial aid and international student scholarships, Suzy and Donald make a $10 million gift during The Wellesley Campaign to establish a dedicated humanities center. According to Suzy, “The establishment of the Humanities Center reflects our personal and professional interests and will be an important addition to the College’s academic program.”
The Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities opens, bringing to fruition a long-held faculty dream of endowed support for humanities programming and a dedicated physical space. Tim Peltason, the director of the Suzy Newhouse Center at the time, said of the new space, “the design embodies the necessary balance that we are always seeking to strike between tradition and innovation, between the great values of permanence and progression.”
Suzy passes away at age 80. When asked in 2005 to reflect on her life and what she found most satisfying, Suzy answered, “My Wellesley days, my husband, children and grandchildren, my work with my children’s schools… and children’s organizations.” Carrying on her legacy of generosity, her husband, Donald, and family now devote their energies to advance treatments for Frontotemporal Dementia and raising awareness about the disease.
New England Humanities Consortium
The Suzy Newhouse Center joined the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) in September 2018. This innovative collaborative effort was started by the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute and soon grew to connect 11 colleges and universities in New England. NEHC’s stated goal is to share ideas and resources in speakers’ series, research collaborations, and institutional partnerships. Please see the NEHC website for further information and for news of opportunities.
Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes
The Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) is a worldwide network of over 250 humanities centers, institutes, research libraries and similar organizations. Their goal is to support the future of the humanities by fostering new methods of interdisciplinary collaboration. For more information, please visit the CHCI website.
National Humanities Alliance
The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) is comprised of over 200 colleges and universities, museums, libraries, state humanities organizations and other humanities associations across the United States. They seek to secure federal funding for the humanities and to promote the study and engagement in the humanities in communities nationwide. For more information, please visit the NHA website.
The Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities
106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481
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