Mellon Foundation awards C of I $100,000 grant

The College of Idaho has received a $100,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of digital liberal arts education. The grant, which will help fund curricular and pedagogical planning at the C of I, is the first award the College has received from The Mellon Foundation. It also marks the first foundation grant cultivated by new C of I President Charlotte Borst.

“This is a thrilling day for The College of Idaho,” Borst said. “We know from national college rankings and our students’ success upon graduation that the C of I offers a superb academic program. This Mellon grant, with its focus on innovation in the liberal arts, will further strengthen our curriculum and lead to even greater success for our graduates.”

The College of Idaho requested the grant to strengthen its distinctive PEAK Curriculum by developing faculty’s capacity to incorporate new digital technologies into teaching and student-faculty research in the humanities. The focus of the two-year initiative is helping professors develop new, technology-rich courses through training, collaboration and small grants for exploration. With the support of The Mellon Foundation, the C of I will look to build upon its already strong commitment to the humanities, continue to shape a compelling modern curriculum, and empower faculty to make full use of the technologies that are transforming pedagogical approaches and collaborative research throughout the liberal arts.

“This grant will allow our faculty to explore new digital technologies,” said John Ottenhoff, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the C of I faculty. “It also strengthens what we do best here, which is to help students become more reflective and creative, more able to think critically, and better able to express themselves articulately and knowledgeably.”

The Mellon Foundation funds are designated to be used between May 2016 and April 2018.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. To this end, the foundation supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. 

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit